Graveyard / Imperial State Electric

Soul-searching Swedes transcend ‘retro’ tag

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Entombed and Hellacopters guitar hero Nicke Andersson hits the stage tonight with his latest project, IMPERIAL STATE ELECTRIC [8], and the Ballroom’s heaving already.

Their infectious garage rock is all uptempo beats and sunny grooves, with the band galloping with gusto across the stage, no doubt fuelled by the pumped-up punters.

Imperial State Electric charge up the Ballroom

Imperial State Electric charge up the Ballroom (Image credit: Kevin Nixon)

GRAVEYARD [8] are often lumped into the category of ‘retro’ bands who emulate 60s and 70s blues rock, but the Swedes’ music, a melting pot of eerily erratic riffs with dark yet delicate melodies, has earned them a status beyond any passing trend.

While they’re musically stunning live, Graveyard aren’t known for being animated onstage but, perhaps due to the roaring response they receive or the vibrant light show that sets the stage ablaze in a psychedelic swirl and brings the music to life – or, perhaps the band have just found their feet in a live setting – tonight they play with passion and enthusiasm.

They open with jaunty newbie Magnetic Shunk, and peppered throughout the hit-heavy set that includes the ghostly Hisingen Blues and the lush Uncomfortably Numb are tastes of the new album, Innocence & Decadence – the soulful Too Much Is Not Enough a highlight. The Siren is the perfect closer – a gut-wrenchingly emotional slab of beautiful blues rock that leaves all entranced.

Hannah May Kilroy

Hannah May Kilroy has been writing about music professionally for over a decade, covering everything from extreme metal to country. She was deputy editor at Prog magazine for over five years, and previously worked on the editorial teams at Terrorizer and Kerrang!. She currently works as the production editor for The Art Newspaper, and also writes for the Guardian, Classic Rock and Metal Hammer.