Photography by Bobby Talamine
Writing by Fiza Javid
Live at Cobra Lounge on Wednesday evening, Baroness prepared an incredible for the West Loop of Chicago. Fresh off the holidays, the excitement was in the air as I journeyed to the area, expecting a modest crowd, potentially in fear of COVID regulations.
I walked to the side of the venue and caught a glimpse of their gorgeous tour bus, with silver flames designed through the side. Knowing the awesome jam sessions that probably go on in there, I was even more excited to see them on a personal level.
To my amazement, and not to my surprise, Baroness yielded a massive crowd, packing the Cobra Lounge to the brim, with patrons unable to make it to the inside of the hall with the stage. From the far back, individuals pinched their camera on their smartphones, zooming towards the stage to catch a glimpse of what is to come. Even through the masks you could tell they were eager.
I slowly worked my way as close to the stage as possible, feeling like a Tetris piece trying to spot the right spot to fit to catch the action.
The way the stage lit up, with John Baizley emerging on the stage, was like a glorious sunrise. He is such a powerful front man, and this was the first time I was going to hear Baroness's incredible songs in person, in such an intimate, laid-back setting.
What an honor it was. The riffs of Ogeechee Hymnal" slowly took the crowd from a slow build up to pure underground rock n roll intensity.
The next songs they played were "Take My Bones Away", "Rays on Pinion" to "March to the Sea," and the way each song flowed to the next, I cannot think of a more pure rock experience. Fans around me seemed to just flow into the music as I was, some with their eyes closed, just taking in a moment with this band that wouldn't have been possible a year ago.
My favorites would have to be the acoustic session, which really made the experience that much more intimate. While the showmanship of John Baizley, Gina Gleason, Nick Jost and Sebastian Thomson was already perfect through the initial songs, but as someone who was experiencing this band for the first time, I didn't expect an acoustic guitar to be pulled out at all by anyone for this show. They did the songs "Cocainium" and "Foolsong" which felt like a complete 180 from what the of the set provided, significantly more folky, but still classic rock. These two songs really showed the depth of what this band is made of and their musicianship is incredibly intricate.
The set ended with "The Birthing" and "The Sweetest Curse," and honestly, it all felt like five minutes flew by. With the fears of the virus still looming, I was ready to get out of the sweaty packed crowd, but I still imagined Baroness coming back out for another 22 songs. They were so effortless in their showmanship that I am a hooked fan for life. There was no branded gimmick about this band, Baroness is truly the real deal and their musicianship shined through and through.
Thanks again Cobra Lounge for making this possible! Until next time,
Fiza Javid - JBTV Music Television