Ruby Lounge Manchester – 5 December 2012
Seeing a sea of Down, Kylesa and Neurosis shirts suggests that this spectacle appeals to more than just floppy haired retro nerds. Opening acts Spiders are a slick clique combination of blues and sass that warm up the early crowd but never really ignites the pilot light. Singer Anne Sofie Hoyles has a strong stage presence but the rest of the band hid behind their frontwoman for most of the set. This was a shame because the raw blues of a young Fleetwood Mac, along with a healthy dose of Zeppelin, suggest bright things will come their way.
Swedish trad rockers Graveyard sauntered onto the stage politely enough with little fanfare. New record “Lights Out” has made an impression on fans of all ages with metal fans and older blokes who look like they’d be at home watching Credence Clearwater Revival.
While rooted in the past in terms of influence, Graveyard possesses an enduring appeal which resonates with a diverse audience.
Joakim Nilsson’s smooth yet gritty vocals grit carry earthy numbers like “Seven Seven” but a lack of variation in pace detracted from the bands impact at times. Furthermore great was the irritation provided by a couple of audience members stood at the front talking audibly during the quiet parts which detracted from the atmosphere. Disappointing fan behaviour aside, Graveyard are a workhorse who ploughed through regardless. The softly spoken Nilsson and company saw no need for much flamboyance just giving the fans a heads down set of sweet grooves and heady bootie shaking boogie rock. While their songs possess a broad appeal, they rarely reach out to grab you.
Having neither the Sabbath swagger of fellow Swedes Witchcraft nor the cocksure stomp of Rival Sons, Graveyard have some fine blues licks that improves more when they pick up the pace but that was largely absent tonight. Likewise the hefty dose of psyche allows for the tangent veering jams to give you time to get lost in the music but the band become far more intriguing when they break away from the crawl the majority of their material adopts.
The encore saw a great improvement with a rousing rendition of “The Siren” which hits at a more vigorous spirit within. Closing on lights outs second single “Evil Ways”, the Swedes turned up the heat towards the end but it proved too late for them to turn in much more than an above average performance.