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Graveyard played Music Hall of Williamsburg with The Shrine (pics)

words and photos by Caroline Harrison

Graveyard @ MHOW, 1/27/2013
Graveyard

Graveyard played Music Hall of Williamsburg last night (1/27), the second of two NYC shows with Los Angelenos The Shrine. The Swedish rock group is touring in support of Lights Out, released last October.

Opening for a band like Graveyard must be pretty daunting and, admittedly, the Shrine isn’t really my speed. However, they rose to the challenge and delivered a skillful set blending Sabbath-y stoner grooves and vintage LA punk/thrash. They were tight, people dug it, but I found myself enjoying their set more when I couldn’t see the band. Maybe that was because the giant wolf banner with the spotlights on the eyes was distractingly gimmicky.

Graveyard’s musical predecessors would frequently fall prey to spiraling, jammed out live performances with excessive, albeit technically adept soloing. Where the Allman Brothers would jam out “Whipping Post” for 20+ minutes (see any of the Fillmore East recordings), Graveyard’s soloing is economical. Lyrical guitar licks last a few bars. Frenzied drum solos augment a song’s pacing, not diverge from it. Similarly, the band’s stage presence is reserved and controlled, with the exception of drummer Axel Sjöberg’s animalistic fervor.

This is a band that sounds just as polished, tight, and clean as they do on record. The ease with which Joakim Nilsson can move between raw, gritty vocals and silken blues crooning is nothing short of jaw dropping. Graveyard is a band that, for the most part, knows exactly how to play to their strengths, saving two of their strongest songs (“The Siren” and “Endless Night”) for the encore. The only baffling moment of their set was when they broke out an absolute stomper of a B-side, evocative of frenzied Crossroads era Clapton.

Graveyard moves on to Asheville, NC tomorrow night. The Devil’s Blood, originally scheduled to support on a few dates with Royal Thunder, announced their immediate dissolution, effective January 22. Keep an eye out for a possible replacement for those dates.

More pictures from Music Hall of Williamsburg last night are below.

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