We have had rain for weeks. The kind of tropical downpours that makes for deep wet wells. By Thursday, I was starting to realize that lethargy, country music, whiskey and rain make a mean cocktail. Along with this realization came a band called Graveyard Train.
As the dark clouds finally started to drift out to sea, I got word that Graveyard Train was rolling up from Melbourne to play a couple shows in the Sydney area, including a set at Moonshine in Manly. My interest was peaked in the band by finding the song “Tall Shadows” while trolling the internet, after I heard the band mentioned on the notoriously good Triple-J radio station. I sent the guys a quick email, and Josh and Nick where kind enough to let me pester them with some pre-show questions.
I attempted (poorly) to record their set, but was stuck with a bunch of foreground noise, due to the fact that all my good equipment is sitting in a basement in Portland somewhere. All that could be heard was the sounds of Surfer dudes with bleach blond hair ordering rum and cokes, near my bar centric outpost. So rather than blonds ordering drinks here is a video instead
Despite the typical Northern beaches miniskirt vibe, I was blown away by their set. The tagline for the website describes the band as “Six men play men’s instruments just as men were born to do.” The line could not be more fitting as each member sings and slays their way through the set, at one point breaking into the flying monkey chant from Wizard of Oz.
Somehow, the set reminded me of the 1978 Civil war tribute album “White Mansions” (minus the redneck undertones). As a kid, that random tape that would get tossed into circulation from the overflowing glovebox, on roadies up to Canada. Something about the 6 man harmony’s give them an eery campfire vibe, as if visiting a confederate camp before a battle. The music drew me back to hot summer days on dry grass, sitting outside of our broken car waiting for a tow. Surprisingly, Nick mentioned that Wu-Tang was an influence on the group, and even a little Wu came through. Something about a posse of homies on stage gives that sense of bad ass-ness.
These guys belong in the barn at Pickathon or at a house show, as opposed to a crowded faux pirate bar. They will be playing in Portland in October.
I know it will be rainy, and dark and therefore making it perfect to head out for a night to sip whiskey and stomp your feet.