GRAVEYARD, RADIO MOSCOW, THE SHRINE @ Bootleg Theater (1/28/12)

GRAVEYARD‘s sold out show with RADIO MOSCOW, and THE SHRINE at Bootleg Bar in Los Angeles this past Saturday was no doubt the hottest ticket in town. The buzz was huge and rightfully so–their latest album, Hisingen Blues, is an honest-to-goodness, quality serving of 70s rock ‘n roll that has garnered much acclaim.

So while word rippled through the internet that the show had sold out, the venue subsequently moved the show into the larger (and better sounding) theater room in the back of Bootleg Bar. A limited number of tickets were then released with an additional unguaranteed chance for tickets at the door. Upon arrival, the line for fans waiting to purchase tickets was at least 40 people deep with THE SHRINE already loudly blasting away inside. It turns out that everyone who showed up without pre-sale tickets was fortunately able to get in.

Between lines to secure tasty craft beers from Bootleg‘s fine selection of brews and spotting Dave Navarro and his guylined posse, Iowa’s RADIO MOSCOW took the stage with a voluminous sound equal to that of THE SHRINE. (It turns out, the theater’s sound system by far surpasses that of the bar area having previously been unimpressed by Bootleg‘s sound.) RADIO MOSCOW were able to take full advantage of the quality sound by delivering a fiery set of rifftastic, psychedelic stoner rock reminiscent of another powerful trio, EARTHLESS. RADIO MOSCOW impressed with groovy, digestible jams drenched with wet vocals and thunderously active drumming. Definitely worth catching these guys live.

Then came GRAVEYARD. Continuing the awesome wall of fuzz from RADIO MOSCOW and THE SHRINE, GRAVEYARD ripped through a righteous set worthy of the buzz they had set forth. They didn’t really pull out any surprises, but they didn’t really need to. GRAVEYARD‘s songs power through all on their own, ripe with dynamics. The lead vocals of Joakim Nilsson (vocals, guitar) really help set these Swedes apart from the bevy of other 70’s rock bands (and their related stoner rock brethren). He sings it like he means it, and when he pushes his voice, his rasp resonates. While the audience was a more mature and sophisticated bunch compared to your average metal show, this sea of denim and beards was an active bunch regardless. They responded positively to GRAVEYARD‘s jams, particularly when they ripped into Hisingen Blues‘ excellent lead track, “Ain’t Fit to Live Here.” The floor was shaking and felt like it was going to collapse. How fitting would it be if we all died at a GRAVEYARD show? Har.

Bootleg Bar was an unusual venue but it turned out to be a choice spot. GRAVEYARD fulfilled, if not exceeded, expectations. Though they are wrapping up their North American tour, do not miss them the next time they are in your town. And don’t pass them off as some trendy, hipster metal act–GRAVEYARD is real rock ‘n roll music.

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