The Espy on any night disturbs me. What’s going on in there? Who am I going to have to make small talk with? What kind of shit-storm am I going to have to walk through to get where I need to go?

Catching the last few songs of AKANAME (NZ) made me wish I had been there from the start. Some random punter at my bar had mentioned them to me weeks earlier and I really should have checked them out. Next time guys…..

The Gershwin room filtered out for fags after thunderous applause for the main support, as I nestled myself between my favourite pony-tailed, bearded and spectacled metal nerds (my left) and a couple of shit jocks (my right). Later, when Baizley (vocals) asked whether anyone had been to Metallica the previous evening these guys were in full holler with only about 20 other people in the room. The rest of us – we were here for Baroness!

Baroness quickly took the stage and launched into ‘The Sweetest Curse’ from the Blue Record. Halle-fucking-luyah. Baizley’s vocals thunderous and rarely fading, this is a Viking anthem – ‘Save your breath, this may be the last’ – I would be fucking happy right now if it was. 500 punters seemed to feel the same.

‘Jakes Leg’ , ‘Isak’, ‘The Birthing’ follow – how would I describe Baroness? My theory is – a man should hunt. A man should be strong enough to kill a fucking beast, bring it back to the fire and cook the shit out of it. Sharpen his weapons, be provided a feast and lay his maid. That may make them sound like Man-O-War but fuck it.

Baroness toured last with Soundwave and played an epic sideshow at the Corner Hotel with Isis. That was awesome itself but tonight I met a new band from the one in February. Touring with a band like Isis may lend itself to shoe gazing, maybe touring with a band like Metallica (and being on the road for the past year with countless other bands – Deftones, Mastodon) lends itself to thrashing, gnashing and fucking drinking your sweat and spitting it back out.

‘Swollen and Halo’ – a definite favourite with the crowd and I had tears in my eyes. The brotherhood that stood before us, the mighty Baroness, could not be stopped.

Drummer Alan Bickle is a fucking clean-cut monster. Bassist Summer Welch and Guitarist Pete Adams have the hair. Baizley has the demonic eyes, the shit-eating smile and the presence of a man who is as intelligent as his music. Baizley who hadn’t said a word all night came back on-stage for the encore and a silence hung for about 5 seconds. He was going to say something…… Baizley, in heart-felt and fucking honest prose, thanked us and cheered us for supporting his ‘little band’. He raved on for about 5 minutes. It was like watching your grandma at her 90th birthday giving a speech. It was so genuine my hand drifted from my side to my chest. And I cooed. My favourite band got big. And I couldn’t be happier for them.

Ava Voogt