Graveyard Train, Jackals, OXBLD @ Metro Theatre, Sydney (15/06/2012)

The night began with OXBLVD, a four piece band who quickly won over the relatively small audience that had turned out to see the support acts. After the first few songs of their set it became apparent each band member was a talented singer and that this was one band that had unmasked potential. Their songs were reminiscent of the music of both Kings of Leon and Ryan Adams and whilst they could fit under the folk rock title it was their soulful country singing style that wooed the audience.

Jackals were the second support group and they soon swept away the gentle folk feel of OXBLVD by combining a soulful country tone with a grunge and horror undertone. Their first songs were quite unsettling, with high pitched headache inducing shrieks that conjured up an image of sneaking through a haunted house where every slight noise was intensely amplified and piercing. They definitely succeeded in setting up the horror genre but the audience was quite obviously relieved when a few songs into the set they picked up the pace, dropped at least an octave in pitch and added a grunge element to the mix.

The crowd rapidly increased as the time set for Graveyard Train approached until notions of personal space and breathing room became irrelevant on the front floor space of the venue. Confusion and enthusiasm spread as Pure Imagination from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory filled the room creating a fairy tale sense of wonderment that was incredibly mismatched with the grunge horror of the previous band and with the songs to come.

It took only a few moments for the ambience of the venue to change with the first blasting of horror country music. The energy and enthusiasm of the band kept the audience lively throughout the night and from the first song the crowd was moving and the floor vibrating. It wasn’t long before a small yet energetic group of fans were diving to the front, lifting their bodies into the air with the beat and yelling out every word.

One of the most memorable and unique features of the band is the transformation of a standard chain and hammer into a sound source and the incredible way its sound perfectly suits the band. This chain and hammer ensemble teamed with a harmonica, a banjo, a drum kit, vocals, a tambourine, a washboard and a crazy number of guitars to create some amazing music. The underlying theme of each song never strayed too far from death with grim and sinister tales forming the lyrics for each song.

Not every band can capture an audience and perform a strong live set but Graveyard Train most definitely can, with their music coming alive and echoing into the corners of the room and bouncing straight into the ears and hearts of the crowd. Balled for Beelzehub was definitely a stand out with its strong chorus that had most of the crowd either intensely enchanted of bursting their lungs to sing along whilst Even Witches Go Out Dancing most appropriately had the crowd swaying and shaking away.

Graveyard Train took the crowd on a wonderfully wild adventure in country music like no other band has ever played it, constantly adding tablespoons of grunge, horror, rock and folk into their mixing pot of influences and styles. They’re definitely a band to try and catch if you want to become part of a crowded bubble of energy and dance and sing away your troubles.