Graveyard / Imperial State Electric @ Academy 3, Manchester 05/11/2015

Graveyard / Imperial State Electric - UK Tour 2015

Now that summer festivals are a distant memory in a dank and dark November, the rock gig schedule has got back in full swing with a host of bands competing for healthy audiences. One band that are always guaranteed to pull a respectable crowd are Sweden’s Graveyard, who have built up a fierce reputation as a tight and emotion fuelled live unit.

Before their long awaited headlining return, fellow Swedes Imperial State Electric had the task of warming up a disappointingly sparse crowd. Having former Hellacopters member Nicke Anderson as their frontman was already a big draw for those dedicated and the band sped through a melody driven set of rock and roll not too dissimilar to Nicke’s former band.

Imperial State Electric, now on album number four, are understandably content in the live setting and made for a wise choice as an opener with their no nonsense rock. The choice to have one support band and allow the headliners to have a full length was also a refreshing change amongst the countless ‘package tours’ currently taking place and created mounting anticipation before Graveyard took to the stage.

Out to promote their latest album Innocence And Decadence, the Swedes launched straight into album opener Magnetic Shrunk with its more upbeat tempo and relentless rhythm proving a perfect choice for an opener. By this point the crowd had filled up nicely and many already knew the material word for word and note for note.

Since their last tour to promote previous effort Lights Out, Graveyard have somehow become an even tighter unit and had the same kind of aura surrounding them, which only seems to come with years of hard graft and non-stop touring. Playing a well balanced mix of new and older material showed just how far they have come with the more primitive sounding Buying Truth (Tack Och Förlåt) from Hisingen Blues sounding just as impressive as new number The Apple And The Tree.

Of course, Graveyard‘s softer side is always one of the main highlights and the two choices from their latest album Exit 97 and Too Much Is Not Enough were played with an unbelievable amount of feeling. This was largely down to frontman Joakim Nilsson’s emotion filled voice, which heavily complemented the bluesy and soulful playing of the rest of the band.

As is usual for Joakim and co. the band played largely under darker lighting and with not much in-between song chat. Although with some bands this can seem either as going through the motions or lacking confidence, with Graveyard it actually adds to the atmosphere and it is welcoming to see a band focus solely on the music rather than visual gimmicks.

Closing with eternal fan favourite The Siren, Graveyard cemented their reputation as a reliable and adored heavyweight in the hard rock scene.

Scribed by: Alex Varley