Monday, February 8, 2016

Graveyard at the Bowery Ballroom

Joakim Nilsson
Blues rock from Sweden? When Gothenburg-based doom/stoner band Norrsken folded in 2000 after five years together, guitarist/vocalist Joakim Nilsson and bassist Rikard Edlund formed a growly blues band called Albatross. Albatross also split after five years, and Nilsson and Eklund formed another blues rock band, Graveyard, in 2006. Eklund left Graveyard in 2014, so the band currently consists of Nilsson, guitarist Jonatan Larocca-Ramm, bassist Truls Mörck and Albatross drummer Axel Sjöberg. Graveyard's fourth album, Innocence & Decadence, was released on September 25, 2015.

At the Bowery Ballroom tonight, Graveyard unearthed a classic blues rock sound from the 1970s. In those founding days of hard rock, musicians adapted American blues to rock and turned up the volume and the fuzz. Blues continues to be the root of Graveyard's music, but may be too fast and loud for purists. Nilsson's gravelly voice sang and shouted lyrics, and the musicians fearlessly pounded out rich, tasteful licks that sounded like they were researched well from a thorough American music library. The sound was not so much retro, however, as it was a modern adaption, adding contemporary tunings and effects to an older sound. The delivery was intentionally a bit coarse, giving authenticity to its blues calling. Graveyard is a strong band for older music fans.