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In spite of what the title suggests, Live At Maida Vale isn't a live album in terms of a recording from a concert. It is actually a live recording of four songs from the Yellow & Green album, performed at BBC Radio 1's Rock Show. It was recorded just one month before the horrible tour bus accident which left the entire band seriously injured and eventually led to Allen Bickle and Matt Maggioni leaving the band. So in a way, this recording is the closing of a chapter in Baroness' history - with a new chapter starting with the tour this fall and hopefully continuing with many more albums to come.
The first two songs performed are the two opening songs from the Yellow album, Take My Bones Away and March To The Sea. The latter one has actually been getting a lot of playtime on the Swedish national radio channel P3 lately. I guess this is because someone heard they were coming to Stockholm this fall, then heard about the bus crash and then realized they are actually an awesome band. For whatever reason, it's great to hear March To The Sea now and then, in between the latest singles from Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and whatnot.
Aaaanyway. The songs really come to their right in the live setting and actually seem to grow into something more than what is one the album. There are some new intros and new details added that lift the songs and I get a lot of flashbacks from the fantastic concert they did in Gothenburg last summer. With the Yellow & Green album Baroness transcended the boundaries of the psychedelic, progressive sludge metal of the first two albums and ventured into more easy-accessible rock influences, and this without becoming boring or sounding like "sellouts".
The melancholic Cocainium - with its slowly escalating composition and heavy-riffing chorus - and the rock 'n' roll discharge The Line Between end the EP and leave me with virtually no complaints. Of course, if you know Baroness' latest album you'll know that the songs included are pretty much the four songs with the biggest commerical potential, and this is understandable since it was performed on a radio show. Still, I would have loved to hear this good recordings of some songs from the earlier albums - such as A Horse Called Golgotha, Isak, Jake Leg or Swollen And Halo. I'll just keep my fingers crossed for a fullblown live album from Baroness in the future. Preferrably along with a DVD.
also review of: Yellow