Graveyard, Radio Moscow, Daniel Davies @ The Middle East in Cambridge MA on Friday 13, January 2012.
If a simple guitar riff could be likened to a single raindrop, it was monsoon season at The Middle East nightclub on Friday night. Wave after wave of torrential guitar swept across the sold-out room, with the eye of storm squarely emanating from Graveyard, the Swedish band who brought forth the lessons of celebrated riff-lords such as Budgie, Primeval, early Jethro Tull and of course Sabbath to an impressive crescendo. Touring on last year's excellent sophomore release Hisingen Blues, the lanky, bearded, long-haired Swedes unleashed a sound sturdier than a Viking ship hull and launched an armada of hair flips, both on stage and in the audience. The sinister swagger of encore closer "Evil Ways" was a perfect closer for a band who understands the primal need for letting nothing stand in the way of simple rock power. For their first headlining tour of the US, they are impressing a lot of people.
Radio Moscow is no stranger to drama (just a few days before this show, the rhythm section quit amidst an on-stage battle that ended during the first song with leader Parker Griggs throwing his strat into the drummer's kit, only to have his forehead on the receiving end shortly thereafter - see video below):
Griggs bounced back quickly (albeit still sporting a jagged line of stitches down his forehead), recruiting two new guys who fit in seamlessly, like they'd spent their previous year playing with a Radio Moscow tribute band. Griggs plays a fair bit of trad blues licks that form the basis for the long jams; think of an updated Blue Cheer or Cream and you get the picture, complete with vintage oil bath backdrop visuals provided by The Mad Alchemist. As tonight was Friday the 13th, more drama inevitably visited the band's performance, this time in the form of a fan who either stage dove or lunged backward into a parting crowd and banged his skull off the concrete floor hard enough to stop the show and necessitate a small crew of police and EMTs to eventually cart him away on a back board. Yikes.
Daniel Davies opened the show, and featured CKY's drummer Jess Margera, brother of the more famous Bam. His style of retro '70's hard rock was a perfect fit for the bill, bringing in smooth, smoky Les Paul action that wouldn't be out of a place in a playlist of Blue Oyster Cult, Slade, Bob Welch (especially on "Hidden Faces") and other second tier FM radio staples. As with those bands, these songs were pretty catchy; it's nice to see someone use a less-used mold for their craft if it's gonna be somewhat derivative.
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