Graveyard @ O2 Academy Islington
6th December 2012
Review by Anna Dumpe
Photography by Oran Tarjan
After a sold-out show at The Camden Underworld earlier this year, Graveyard are back in London and have moved on to a bigger venue, but it looks like they have no problems filling the O2 Academy Islington!
Their fan base seem to grow within hours and it’s obvious to say that Graveyard are one of the most exciting rock bands to emerge from Sweden in the last couple of years.
Coming from a place that’s home for such bands like In Flames, At The Gates, HammerFall, The Haunted and many more, Graveyard present the Gothenburg’s sound from a different angle. Their sound is classic rock borrowing the best elements from blues and progressive / psychedelic rock. Graveyard are as retro, as a rock band in the 21st century can get.
Tonight at the O2 Academy Islington the opening band Spiders represent the same city of Gothenburg.
As a female-fronted four piece they seem the perfect opening band for Graveyard, because their music is pure retro rock and the stage presence of both bands seem quite similar.
The singer Ann-Sofie Hoyles is a great surprise for those who didn’t expect anything much from tonight’s opening band. She’s got the charisma and voice of young Suzi Quatro, but her tough character reminds of yet another female-fronted Swedish band The Sounds and their singer Maja Ivarsson.
She reminds us of a 60’s flower-child bouncing around the stage and impressing the audience by using such instruments like shakers, harmonica and tambourine. The rest of the band might seem left in the background, but they all are professionals and have worked with different bands like Witchcraft, Midwest, etc.
With fewer EP’S and a debut album Flush Point out now, and a nomination for this year’s best rock/metal band at the Swedish Music Awards, these guys are on their way to be Sweden’s next big thing.
When it’s time for Graveyard to hit the stage, the venue is completely packed out. There must be something special going on tonight…
To begin with, Graveyard have released their own beer “Hisingen Brew” (4.8%), which is always nothing but good news. A band that has managed to come up with their own lager must be a pretty cool bunch of musicians worth checking them out in pure respect.
Another thing that makes Graveyard stand out in today’s music market is their unique retro sound and their approach to song writing. Their live shows are an electrifying experience, at some points reaching the illusion of a psychedelic trip. And no, we were not on drugs when we went to see them.
Graveyard would appeal to fans of Hawkwind, Pentagram, Cream and so on, as they are true professionals in making retro sound appeal to a modern-day listener.
The band even manage to look like they’ve time-traveled back from the early 1970’s and everything from their bell-bottom jeans and shirts to their haircuts and guitar straps look vintage. It’s a massive plus for them, because the visual character only intensifies the musical performance.
Graveyard start tonight’s set with “Industry Of Murder” – the opening track from their new album Light’s Out. It has earned great reviews from media and is highly acknowledged by fans. It didn’t seem like an easy deal for Graveyard to come up with new material that would make a great follow-up to their second album Hisingen Blues, which was an extremely successful and truly unique record. Some might agree that they couldn’t have done better with Light’s Out, but others might take some time to get used to the new material to truly appreciate it.
Even though tonight Graveyard are here to promote the new album, they successfully mix the new material with old tunes and the second song of the night is the title track from the previously mentioned album Hisingen Blues. It’s a classic song that every single person in the room seems to be familiar with and it’s more of an up-tempo track that really kicks off tonight’s show.
The Northern melancholy that’s so specific to Graveyard music plays a big part on Light’s Out as well and tonight songs like “Seven Seven” and “Slow Motion Countdown” brings out the best of it.
A definite highlight of the night is yet another track from Hisingen Blues – “Uncomfortably Numb”. It’s a cleverly written song with bluesy melody that increases its intensity during the chorus. It’s one of the most psychedelic songs from the album and tonight it puts the audience in a musical trance and takes us to another dimension.
There’s something very powerful about Graveyard ballads and “Hard Times Lovin” is a great example of that. It’s a song that captures a lot of pain with its sentimental melody, poetic lyrics and great blues guitar solo.
Graveyard finish the set with “Goliath” – another classic tune and the first single from Light’s Out. The band leaves the stage for a minute to get rushed back for an encore when they perform three songs, each from a different album.
The first encore song is “The Siren”, which is a great story captured in a beautiful song. It’s unique in a way that the verse is in such contrast with the chorus, making it an emotional experience for every listener. This song is a definite highlight of the night and might have been the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Joakim Nilsson’s vocals remain brilliantly harsh and spot-on, while the rest of the band seem tireless. They end the show with “Endless Nights”, which is the second single from Light’s Out and “Evil Ways” from their first album Graveyard.
Graveyard are the band you want to catch live at an open-air summer festival when the sun is up, you’re slightly drunk/high (whatever you fancy), you have your best mates around and you can simply enjoy the freedom this music gives you.
Because of their retro sound and looks, Graveyard seem one of those bands you can picture performing at the “Isle of Wight” in 1970 alongside Jimi Hendrix. More realistically, we can only wish to have them back in UK at any other summer festival and these are the Swedes you don’t want to miss.
Industry Of Murder
Slow Motion Countdown
Ain’t Fit To Live Here
Buying Truth [Tack Och Forlat]
As The Years Pass By, The Hours Bend
The Suits, The Law & The Uniforms
Hard Times Lovin