Graveyard + Grinding Eyes
Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
4th March, 2015
Review by Gary Grim
Being a Wednesday night, a school night, I didn’t think many people would be in attendance at the Oxford Art Factory this evening, especially to see what I thought was a criminally underrated band; Swedish 70s style bluesy stoner rockers, Graveyard. Was I ever mistaken.
By the time Sydney’s Grinding Eyes hit the stage, the venue was bustling with a varied and eager crowd. I had no idea what to expect from this band and I was pleasantly surprised. I guess they could be lazily described as a psychedelic rock band which they are. However, they’re also more than that. To me they sounded like The Velvet Underground and perhaps The Brian Jonestown Massacre got together and had a stoner rock lovechild. It was a big and interesting sound for such a seemingly young band. Reverb drenched, jangling guitar riffs, sparse but effectively utilised keyboard, a tight rhythm section and melancholy, angst riddled vocals all combined to create a psychedelic musical trip that was thoroughly impressive.
Graveyard didn’t waste any time, jumping straight into No Good Mr. Holden much to the excitement of the now packed Oxford Art Factory. The quality of the musicianship on the stage was high, complimented perfectly by quality of the sound in the venue. Every note being played or sung came across with a clarity that is often lacking at rock shows and it helped me to appreciate just how skilled this band. Every riff and solo was played with intense precision but not at the expense of the spirit of the songs. It was a precision that was not necessarily robotic but purpose driven into delivering these brilliantly crafted songs that capture the essence of old school rock ‘n’ roll music.
The set covered a good cross section of all of the band’s releases, flowing from slower blues jams such as Uncomfortably Numb and As the Years Pass, the Hours Bend to more raucous rockers such as Ain’t Fit To Live Here and Goliath. The audience was absolutely lapping up this stellar performance, going wild during the more upbeat moments and singing along to pretty much every song the band came out with showing me that perhaps these guys aren’t as underappreciated in Australia as I had originally guessed.
The crowd’s energy levels reached fever pitch by the end of the encore but the band’s had ebbed somewhat. These Swedes were clearly suffering from the heat in the jam-packed room with vocalist Joakim Nilsson visibly drenched in sweat struggling his way through Hisingen Blues, the last song of the evening. That said, this didn’t impact at all on the quality of the show. Graveyard put on a mind blowing performance that night, one that you shouldn’t miss next time they hit Australian shores.