Graveyard - Bowery Ballroom - 1/25/13

Categories: Last Night

Better Than: Frostbite.

When I go to a concert, I always want to like the bands. I really do. I wouldn't show up if I didn't think I was going to enjoy myself. There are plenty of other places I could be.

I approached Friday night's Bowery Ballroom show, headlined by Swedish neo-classic blues-rock band Graveyard, with an open mind. Having heard their albums and found them pleasant enough, I decided to give them a chance to fully impress me live. I'll just come out and say it now: I was not impressed.

I have this bias when it comes to bluesy rock. If you are going to play something resembling the blues, you had better feel the fucking pain. And convey it to me so convincingly that I feel it with you. Make me want to console you and buy you a beer, at least. Better yet, dig down deep into your soul, rip it out through other body parts like fingers on guitar strings or frayed vocal cords, and share something emotionally powerful with me. Whether celebratory or mournful, blues-type music should make the listener feel something more than just a groove.

Last night there were two problems with both bands (the Shrine, from Los Angeles, opened). The first problem was the sound mix: only the bass and drums could be heard. This one's the fault of the Bowery--usually the best-sounding venue in town--or of whoever was mixing the sets. It was so bad that fans were shouting complaints between songs. (One audience member was particularly vocal: "More guitar! Louder! Turn that shit up!" And later: "Turn those motherfuckin' guitars up!") Fancy fretwork appeared to be taking place onstage. It's a shame we didn't get to hear it.

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