Sean Maciejewski

Baroness Triumphs the Essex in Rochester, NY

Sean Maciejewski
Jun 5, 2024
6 min read

On Sunday, June 2nd, 2024, Baroness stopped at Essex in Rochester, NY, with their "Summer Oblivion 2024 Tour." Joining the band on the first leg of the tour were supporting acts Portrayal of Guilt and Gozu. With doors opening at 6:00 PM, the venue steadily filled in for the show's 7:00 PM start.


Boston, MA's Gozu kicked off the night. Formed in 2010, the band has six recorded albums and started the show with a high-energy set. The crowd was getting into the band's vibe. With a hard-hitting eclectic mosh of psychedelic 60s, 70s underground, and grunge rock sound, the band set the tone for the show!

Gozu is Mark Gaffney - on vocals & guitar, Doug Sherman - on guitar, Joe Grotto - on bass, and Mike Hubbard on drums.

Setlist: Tom Cruise Control, Mr. Riddle, Rambo 2, Meth Cowboy, The Magnificent Muraco, CLDZ

Portrayal of Guilt

Up next was the power trio screamo band Portrayal of Guilt. Formed in Austin, TX, in 2017, they have six records in their arsenal. Their set started with a mix of blue and red alternate light with just a few flashes of white light. In other words, it was a very dark and heavy lighting theme that continued throughout the set, complementing their style of music. The band played an almost nonstop set, flowing seamlessly into one continuous song, pausing briefly to tell the fans that this was their second time in Rochester playing here six years ago in a tiny bar. While this isn't my type of music, I saw many in the crowd getting into it with an almost zombie-like trance. The band delivered a performance of raw energy and a heavy sound, thoroughly pumping up the fans for the headliner.

Portrayal of Guilt is Matt King - on vocals & guitar, Alex Stanfield - on bass, and James Beveridge - on drums.

Setlist: Time To Die, Burning Hand, One Last Taste Of Heaven, New Song, The Sixth Circle, Bed Of Ash, Anesthetized, Fall From Grace, The Crucifixion


Headliner Baroness took the stage promptly at 9:00 PM to an eruption of cheers and fists in the air. The venue was now nicely filled with black-clad metalheads. Formed in Savannah, Georgia, in 2003, the band has had a lengthy career in the metal scene. Though the band has changed some members through the years, the current lineup is the most impressive. The sole original member is frontman/ guitarist John Baizley, who has been in the band since its inception. Nick Jost (bass) and Sebastian Thomson (drums) have been in since 2013. The newest band member is guitarist Gina Gleason, who joined in 2017. This is an impressive lineup of musicians who put on a musical treat to the ears in a live performance. With a six-record catalog to draw from, there would be some fantastic songs to see live.

What impresses me is the sound they have on a recording, which crosses over well to a live show. In some ways, it's even better with a live performance. Starting the set with two picks from the newest (2023) album, Stone, were the songs "Last Word" and "Under the Wheel." Right from this point, the crowd was all into the show. Followed by "A Horse Called Golgotha," "March To the Sea," and the very cool "Green Theme." The sweet dual guitar melodies and lead runs are captivating. What surprised me was this was a performance minus cell phone activity. Fans were invested in the show, with only a few people occasionally grabbing short videos or photos of their favorite songs through the entire set. The whole set was a progressive metal musical journey. There was not a dull moment to hear. Shouts of "We love you, Gina" were sent towards the stage. She responded with a heart-shape made with her hands held high above her while giving a big smile. John Baizley told the fans, "We've been coming to Rochester for about 20 years now, and the very first time was a very small club called the Bug Jar"; we want to thank you for sticking with us." The crowd cheered wildly. The set included the hard-hitting song "Shock Me," which was a  2017 Grammy Award nomination for Best Metal Performance. Closing the show with "The Sweetest Curse," the band walked off the stage, and the lights faded to black. Chants of "One more song" are sung by the fans for several minutes before Sebastian Thomson pops on stage and says, "We aren't that easy; we were making you wait for a bit," with cheers coming from the fans. Before the encore performance starts, John Baizley asks to have some house lights come on so he can see faces; he explains, "We have two more songs left; I want to see you reflect your energy back to us." The band goes into "Take My Bone Away," with the crowd singing along, and a mosh pit opens up in the center of the crowd, causing an intense frenzy before the song ends. The night's final song was "Isak," the crowd was still amped up from the last song and continued singing until the last note faded away.  Baizley tells the fans, "Thank you so much, Rochester," the place goes crazy with cheers. This was my first time seeing  Baroness live, and I recommend catching a show if you can!

Baroness is John Baizley - on vocals & guitar, Gina Gleason - on guitar & backing vocals, Nick Jost - on bass & Keyboards, and Sebastian Thomson on drums.

Setlist: Last Word, Under the Wheel, A  Horse Called Golgotha, March to the Sea, Green Theme, Beneath The Rose, Chlorine & Wine, War Wisdom and Rhyme, Shock Me, Borderlines, The Sweetest Curse, encore; Take My Bones Away, Isak

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