Baroness

support Pet The Preacher
author AP date 07/08/12 venue Beta, Copenhagen, DEN

Musically the final day of the Dirty Days of Summer initiative was the lightest; however, for whatever reason the delicious barbecue food came in much heavier portions. If you missed the other two reviews, let me once again stress what a fantastic event this was. It highlights BETA's ability to cater to the music community like no other venue in Denmark by providing an experience that is more than just music - and apparently with such ease!

Granted, it was entirely coincidental that three heavyweights from the southern/sludge community were touring northern Europe almost simultaneously, but once that was realized by BETA, they quickly hired catering to do a New Orleans, LA style barbecue; rounded up a couple of DJ:s from the nation's media to come spin some stoner, sludge and rock'n'roll tunes during the feast; and gave the idea a cool title to boot. As such, the fact that all three concerts sold out in advance probably owed considerably to the venue's effort - because, come on, what part of what I just described does not sound fucking awesome? Spare ribs, Jambalaya, bean rice and coleslaw; cold beer from the tap; a late afternoon start each day with predominantly great weather; and a bunch of internationally renowned sludge bands supported by the best Denmark has to offer in the genre playing shows. Fuck. Yeah.

Pet The Preacher

On this final evening of the Dirty Days of Summer, it was the local Pet the Preacher that had been charged with opening the proceedings - and they do so in magnificent style. Up until tonight, I've not had the chance to listen to these guys' recorded output, so the impact on me, of their take on the stoner rock genre, is probably amplified somewhat. But let there be no mistake, here is a band with tremendous potential. Armed with a fine selection of groovy vintage riffs, courtesy of guitar-toting frontman Christian Hede Madsen; phenomenal bass playing by Torben Wæver Pedersen; and infectious, textured drumming by Christian Von Larsen, the trio wastes no time in enamoring absolutely everyone in the room (which looks to be at about half-capacity for this support set). Especially the second song, with its slide guitar antics and Clutch vibes, is an instant, banging hit, while the instrumental piece that follows gives real credence to this band's collective instrumental prowess. The only thing that bothers me is the relative lack of finesse in the band's lyrics, as although lines like "Cancer, you fucking bitch!" certainly make a point, their composition is a little too inarticulate to measure up with the instrumental brilliance underlying. This is a small issue though, and one which has surely been addressed on the band's brand new debut album, so I let it slide, and instead bob my head along in approval.

8

Baroness

By the time Baroness' instrumental intro is seeping through the backline, the room is packed to its limits with a crowd that is in high spirits despite an early Wednesday wake-up looming ahead for most. Baroness released a new double album titled "Yellow & Green" last month which introduced a strong pop influence to the band's sound whilst toning down the metal, and needless to say, it was not universally well received by all of the band's fans. Fortunately the elitism that sometimes plagues the Danish metal scene is nowhere to be seen tonight, so the setlist, which dips quite heavily into the poppier "Yellow" half of that album in particular with "March to the Sea", "Take My Bones Away", "Eula", "Cocainium" and "Sea Lungs", is received with huge enthusiasm. This does not go unnoticed, as the band's frontman John Baizley makes sure to thank us for showing equal interest in all of the songs played tonight - something that apparently has not been the case at all of the shows on this tour.

The prevalence of songs from "Yellow" naturally means there is less room for songs from the other records. But even though the band airs just one song from each of "Green" and "Red" in "Foolsong" and the ordinary set closer "Isak", with the rest coming from "Yellow" and "Blue" (a cool detail, it should be mentioned, is that with every song the lighting takes the colour of the album from which the song is taken), there seems to be unanimous approval within the venue that what Baroness muster up here tonight is quite special. It is obvious from the crowd's headbanging, singing along and enthusiastic clapping in between the songs; and it is obvious from the sheer exuberance radiating from each member of the band, completed by guitarist/backing vocalist Peter Adams, bassist Matt Maggioni, and drummer Allen Blickle. Their energy on stage comes as a complete surprise to me, having experience many a sludge metal and progressive rock show in the past, with their unexpected ability to dispense it even during demanding solos and lead guitar fills.

What Baroness prove tonight is that given a high degree of instrumental prowess, songwriting talent and desire to experiment, there are no limits to what can be accomplished musically. That feeling translates perfectly into the band's performance, which is as much an effervescent celebration of artistic freedom as it is just a damn good show. What a fantastically epic finale to a great event!



As a closing remark, I'd like to applaud the people of BETA for conjuring up this event, which, in my book, deserves a solid 9 out of 10. I sincerely hope this will happen again next year in some shape or form, with even more cool stuff like a cocktail bar serving Planter's Punch, Sazerac or the legendary Hurricane!

Photos copyright of Rasmus Ejlersen

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