Graveyard w/Radio Moscow at Exit/In, 1/20/12

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The Spin isn’t often the first to admit to being slightly out of the loop on occasion. For example, we thought wearing a velour jacket to a metal show Friday night at Exit/In would be an ironic, hilarious statement of some sort. And perhaps it might have been if we’d gone to a metal show.

We walked through the doors at approximately 9:34 p.m. to find this program already in progress, and openers Radio Moscow midway through one of many high-speed bluesy jams. They were in front of a trippy backdrop we soon noticed was being operated manually by an actual dude with multicolored liquids and an overhead projector. That wasn’t the only thing obviously old-school about Radio Moscow. Clearly channeling the glory days of the power trio (a la Blue Cheer, Cream and Hendrix), these three bump the energy and tempos up to match modern tastes and shred extensively on over-the-top, marathon bluesy freak-outs with first-class precision and a cohesion tighter than the lid on your granny’s jar of pickled eggs. Though we were probably in no condition to notice if he was among the crowd, we later learned that local big man on campus and Black Key Dan Auerbach produced the band’s first album.

Speaking of the crowd, this was a big one. Sold out by no means, but definitely packed enough to make the room feel what we like to call “cozy," this crowd was a tough one to pinpoint. The long-hairs, black -denims and bushy beards we expected to rub elbows with were primarily onstage, facing a crowd of mostly North Face jackets and baseball caps.

Sweden’s Graveyard was barely into their second song before we started wondering just why it is Swedish bands are always so freaking awesome. From Hellacopters to Dungen, Miike Snow, The Knife, Refused, Jens Lekman, The Hives, Robyn and ABBA — not to mention the endless list of black-metal acts for which the region is notorious — the causes behind this radically lopsided awesome-to-suck ratio are certainly worthy of scholastic investigation.

Regardless, we haven’t seen the Swedes rock a crowd like this since Black Friday at Ikea. Tearing many of the same pages from the Big Book of Hard Rock History as Radio Moscow, Graveyard wanted a little more than to melt faces with a bloody-eared, noodly assault. Rather, it was the dynamics between their peaks and troughs that provided the nuances responsible for blowing our minds on this one. Shifting swiftly but subtly from full-throttle stoner blues to gently rollicking, jazzy, folky interludes felt more like an acid-fueled journey to the dark side and back than a prolonged psyched-out kick to the groin. Neither of which, we should note, would be a bad thing.

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