Graveyard - LIVE: Borderline 2011

Hisingen Blues Tour
London - April 27
Capacity 275
Photo Gallery

Swedish retro rockers Graveyard's unexpected but thoroughly deserved rise to prominence brings them to London for only the second time, to the historically significant Borderline, and above local veterans Firebird. No mean feat.

Firebird, also supporting a new album released in Japan last year and everywhere else this year, were afforded just 45 minutes as the sole opening act and, having debuted several of the new songs roughly a year ago at a tiny warm-up show at South of The Border in East London, their set this time didn't vary too much from that night, but their playing of the new songs was noticeably tighter.

Live Firebird sound heavier than they do on their records, but have no trouble delivering the often incomparable groove of their riffs with layers of fuzz on guitarist/vocalist Bill Steer's (Carcass) guitar, and his smooth-but-suitably-weathered voice. Tank cover Set Your Back On Fire remains in the set, along with older tracks like Horse Drawn Man and Blue Flame, but otherwise most of the set came from new album Double Diamond which, in tracks like Ruined, brings some of their biggest chorus hooks to the set. Steer delighted the packed crowd by breaking out the harmonica for a guitar-less Slow Blues to close the set, proving the perfect opener for a band of Graveyard's style, even if history and reputation should probably have them the other way around.

As ever at the Borderline, shows start too late (over an hour between doors opening and the first band starting), so Graveyard had just 65 minutes on stage, including their encore, which is pretty insulting for a headline act who have travelled from Sweden to play the show. A broken bass string half-way through then forced Evil Ways out of the set, replaced with an improvised jam between the other members, but to the band's credit they approached the performance with so much energy that any enforced brevity was quickly forgotten by the audience.

Graveyard's popularity outside of Sweden has risen sharply and somewhat surprisingly with the release of excellent new album Hisingen Blues but there's no sign of ego creeping into the band's performance. In a similar way to jam bands like Rose Hill Drive the quartet almost ignore the crowd while playing, caring only about playing their music. The new songs are markedly more mature when placed immediately alongside tracks from their self-titled debut like Lost In Confusion and Satan's Finest, but when they are mixed appropriately amongst the new songs, they provide a riffier alternative to more considered songs like Uncomfortably Numb and the brilliant No Good, Mr. Holden.

Graveyard's performance to a capacity crowd at the Borderline will have done their reputation in the UK no harm at all. They epitomise the young band who love their music and love playing it for people, and provided they maintain that level of enthusiasm and integrity, another album of the class of Hisingen Blues will guarantee them bigger venues than this next time.

“ so much energy ”

Firebird Setlist: For Crying Out Loud / Bright Lights / A Wing And A Prayer / Blue Flame / Jack The Lad / Soul Saviour / Horse Drawn Man / Bird On A Wire / Ruined / Set Your Back On Fire / Silent Stranger / Slow Blues

Graveyard Setlist: No Good, Mr Holden / Hisingen Blues / Lost In Confusion / Uncomfortably Numb / Satan's Finest / As The Years Pass By, The Hours Bend / Thin Line / Jam > Buying Truth (Tack & Förlåt) / The Siren // Blue Soul > Granny & Davis

Photo(s): Andy Lye

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2011, Gigs, Hard/Heavy Rock, ,

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