Baroness – Tickets – District Music Hall – Norwalk, CT – June 1st, 2024

Baroness
Premier Concerts and Manic Presents:

Baroness

Portrayal of Guilt, Gozu

District Music HallNorwalkCT
$41.10 - $140.45
All Ages
with Portrayal of Guilt, Gozu

This event is General Admission Standing Room Only on the Floor, and Reserved Seated in the Balcony.

BARONESS

Grammy-award nominated heavy rock outfit Baroness mark their much-anticipated return with new album, STONE. Their sixth record overall and third released via Abraxan Hymns, STONE finds the Philadelphia-based quartet of John Baizley (guitars/vocals/illustration), Gina Gleason (guitars), Nick Jost (bass), and Sebastian Thomson (drums) streamlining the momentous multi-genre vocabulary of its critically-acclaimed predecessor Gold & Grey (2019). This is still very much Baroness—just refocused for efficiency and rethought as a consequence of stability. STONE’s most prominent tracks, “Last Word,” “Beneath the Rose,” “Shine,” and “Anodyne,” reflect thoughtfully, groove deeply, and refract tumult effortlessly. They, of course, rock.

“An important through line in Baroness is we don’t like to repeat ourselves,” says founding member John Baizley. “It’s all about the willingness to take risks. When I was younger, the whole point of music was to be different, to find fresh risks and exciting ideas to explore, and to follow your own impulses rather than play by the rules. That’s kind of goofy, but in practice, it works. It’s really sort of terrifying to be at the sixth record in your career and think that you’ll have to keep up with your history rather than continually invent. So, we doubled down on continuously inventing to see where it takes us. I think this record is a good reflection of that. STONE is a lot more alive, more direct.”

Baizley founded Baroness in Savannah, Georgia, in 2003. Local/regional punk-hardcore scenes harbored the group as they went from strength to strength. They signed to indie Relapse Records (Mastodon, Cave In) in early 2007, where they released three decorated records—Red Album (2007), Blue Record (2009), and Yellow & Green (2012)—before forming their own label Abraxan Hymns. On STONE, Baroness untangle from self-imposed complication. It’s back to basics but constructed with a lifetime of perspective and experience. To wit, acoustic opener “Embers” features Baizley and Gleason harmonizing to the lyric “Build me a home of ember and chain / Leave me a simple life.” This mantra carries through to the arcadian vibes of closer “Bloom.” If home is where the heart is, then Baroness is home.

“When I joined in 2017, I was just trying to find my place,” Gleason says. “This time, I felt like I could express a little more. I had a history with everybody in the band, so I was less scared of imposing. I incorporated more of my guitar playing, which, in a way, was like coming full circle to what I’ve done in the past. I think we were able to strip everything away on this record. We were unified in that, I think. So, we just jumped in and did our best. That felt really good. It was a really cool, empowering, creative experience.”

The origins of STONE go back to 2020. It is not a pandemic record, but the core of it was written during its darkest days. Anxiety, relief, and resolve are stitched deeply throughout. When the foursome was isolated in Pennsylvania and New York, turning stems of music into full-fledged songs felt insurmountable. Baroness toiled as the world roiled. Creativity fully flourished only when they escaped to an Airbnb in Barryville, a quaint hamlet on the New York/Pennsylvania border. The undulating “Beneath the Rose,” the energetic drive of “Anodyne,” the trad-metal burl of “Last Word,” and the dynamic introspection of “Shine” rushed out, as did the motorik of “Choir” and the emotional heft of “Magnolia.” STONE was a sort of catharsis, a turning of the page, a middle finger to the suffocating insincerity of expectation.

“Playing one idea for 13 hours a day, you lose yourself inside of the music,” Jost shares. “You have to follow where that headspace takes you and trust your mates. Extreme isolation enhances this state of mind and allows you to explore things unhindered. That process of exploration is a big part of this album.”

One of the main aspirations behind STONE was to take Baroness back to a DIY approach. Over the years, Baizley had become accustomed to, and talented at, engineering, recording, and mixing. Instead of taking the band to an actual studio, they transformed the Airbnb in Barryville into an impromptu recording space with its big, vaulted ceilings, hardwood floors, and brick/glass walls. While Baroness wrote STONE, Baizley recorded and pre-mixed it. In a way, each song on STONE has its own sonic treatment. After the group finished tracking drums, guitars, and bass, they took everything back to Baizley’s unfinished basement – where parts of Gold & Grey were also recorded—in Pennsylvania to put down the vocals and add other bells and whistles. STONE was then handed off to Grammy-nominated mix master Joe Barresi (Kyuss, Alice In Chains) for final mixing and polishing and Grammy-winning mastering guru Bob Ludwig (Led Zeppelin, Nirvana) at Gateway Mastering Studios.

“The recording process was completely self-contained,” Thomson explains. “Having just the four of us in a rented house in the mountains for a month resulted in not only a cohesive and authentic sound, but also an intense collective mentality.”

Conceptually, STONE eschews the color-based themes of its predecessors, but it’s just as personally weighty. Baizley’s initial ideas were negative and rayless. The right feel wasn’t right. To get out of his funk he took Baroness on the road again, playing in smaller, intimate venues on the ‘Your Baroness’ tour, which featured no opening acts and fan-curated setlists that reached nearly three hours in length and offered an extensive look at the band’s back-catalogue. He built the lyrical foundation for STONE on that tour. Indeed, freedom gave way to ideas of permanence, both literal and figurative. Sure, Baizley came face-to-face with death—and a distant relative, in fact—while strolling through a local cemetery, but he also realized that STONE means so much more, from struggle and support to perseverance and comfort.

“This record started off the loosest conceptually,” says Baizley. “It ended up feeling like it was different chapters in a short story. One thing I’ve learned about myself is that each album is always about the time between. That’s pretty broad, but it’s true. I tend to focus on the things that are confusing to me—and I’m confused by the things I find difficult. So, this album is sort of a reflection of my life. I’ve had some tough years, and I think I’ve found some semblance of calm now. I think I found that walking through Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia. Sure, there’s death, but there’s memory, too. I found that almost peaceful. There’s a song on Pink Floyd’s Animals where they use stone as a metaphor for a grave, but it’s presented in this almost polite, poetic way. That was definitely going through my mind.”

As Baroness edge into their 20th year, they’re finding new ways to engage internally. They’re more secure now than ever before, largely due to the lineup of Baizley, Gleason, Jost, and Thomson remaining intact through thick and thin. In that certainty, Baroness have found the will to innovate or iterate for their artistic pleasure. STONE is a monument. That it kicks ass helps, too.

Links: Official Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Spotify

PORTRAYAL OF GUILT


Links: Official Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Spotify

GOZU

It only takes a few seconds exposure to the rolling riffs of opening track “Tom Cruise Control” to be reminded that this is Gozu‘s world, we’re just living in it. Given that it has been five years since the Boston quartet dropped the monstrous Equilibrium, returning with Remedy is one hell of a way to make sure that everyone – whether previously familiar with them or otherwise – realizes that they are perhaps the most badass of American rock bands, for they have taken everything to the next level. “There is a certain maturity mixed with a childlike enthusiasm to play music, and we all are better players now than on Equilibrium,” says vocalist/guitarist Marc Gaffney. “We have all really tried to look at what we enjoy but more what we do not enjoy. Playing music is a gift and when it becomes A Nightmare on Elm St Part 37.3, you are done.” The result is nine tracks of their signature combination of fuzzy 70s inspired riffs, rich, catchy, grunge-esque vocal melodies and a touch of old school trippy psychedelia written and played with the utmost passion and enthusiasm, eclipsing everything else in their catalogue. “The band wanted a very heavy groove-oriented album with singalong choruses. We also wanted sonically to hit you in the chest, like a three-combination, left-right-left, like Micky Ward. Harmonies and melodies were something we really looked at and wanted to shine, and thick guitar tones, driving bass and drums were under the microscope.“

One element that gave the band a kick in the pants going into Remedy was drummer Seth Botos joining Gaffney, guitarist Doug Sherman and bassist Joe Grotto. “Seth brings such an impeccable work ethic and freshness to the band that it was infectious. He is the breath of delicious fresh air the three old men needed. He reminds us of a young Kevin Bacon/Wayne Rooney.” Auditioning drummers ate up some of the time elapsed between records but like for so many bands the biggest obstacle was Covid, which slowed down the whole process. With Gaffney and Sherman writing, recording and emailing each other tunes they slowly worked on Remedy, and this certainly was not to the record’s detriment, given how the finished product turned out. As well as having nothing but praise for Botos, Gaffney is thrilled with the work of his other bandmates. “Joe’s tone and playing in my opinion are the best he has laid down. There is a sense of space and time he achieved that makes the guitars float over, like a comfortable feathered bed. Doug came out of the gate swinging on this album. He had a certain fire that he needed to lay down and prove a point to the listeners of the world. His solos are killing, his tone and rhythm playing are what really shines on the album. There is a crispness that grabs a hold of your auditory system and makes you scream uncle. He had a vision and fulfilled it.”

With a title that has many meanings but is “strong, hits a spot emotionally and is true“, lyrically Gaffney wrote very honest songs that deal with things everyone has most likely dealt with. However, those that made it onto the record could have been very different, having all of them written and then prior to tracking feeling the compulsive urge to rewrite them. “So, ten minutes later, five songs were rewritten, and I think way better. Then two days later, the urge hit me again and seven minutes later I rewrote the next batch.” Those that made the cut are stories of humanity, things the vocalist has witnessed or heard from the mouths of others. “I do not own any muscle cars; I have not spent endless days and nights in the desert with someone named Kip and slayed a dragon. I needed to write about content that really hit me this time. The songs are really open to interpretation on Remedy. I really wanted to write what people go through with a very honest outlook and I am hoping I did it well. It was by far the easiest lyrics I have penned and did not make me want to hide under my bed for days like the last album.“

Recording with honorary fifth member of Gozu, producer/engineer Dean Baltulonis (Death Ray Vision, The Hope Conspiracy) at Wild Arctic studios in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, sessions were unlike any that the band had previously experienced. Botos laid his drums down in just a day and a half, taking all suggestions his bandmates had and putting his signature spin on them, echoing the fact that they were all invested in the process more than ever before. “There was a totally different vibe in these sessions. There was an openness to ask each other to try different things. If they worked, bravo, if not, check please. We knew what we wanted to do and did it. Like anything, if the vibe is off, you are off. There was a sense of easiness on a human level that had not been present the last few times while recording. The vibe was pure and precious for all involved and I think it shows in the tunes.”

The band obviously hope to tour the record after so long off the road, and they would love the opportunity to share the stage with bands they admire. When asked what other unfulfilled goals they have at this juncture Gaffney answers without hesitation: “To always improve, write better, play better, enjoy everything that we are offered and take advantage of it. I feel we are always setting goals for ourselves so we are not stagnant or believe we can’t do more. The goal should always be to have fun, kill it and let the music set people free. The minute we stop setting goals and challenges for ourselves is the minute we have failed.”

Links: Official Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Spotify

Venue Information:
District Music Hall
71 Wall Street

Norwalk, CT, 06850

Parking Information