I’d been tracking The Roadside Graves for a while now, and even ranked their last full-length, LP, My Son’s Home, in my Top 20 of 2009. They’ve been on a roll since then, releasing the fantastic EP, You Won’t Be Happy With Me, earlier this year. So they’d been on my must-see list for Pickathon for Saturday afternoon. Seeing them live, however, really exceeded my expectations.
They opened their set by announcing “We’re The Roadside Graves and we’re a bunch of drunks from New Jersey.” I was planning to skip their Sunday set to see the Deep Dark Woods, but those guys were dull, so I headed to the barn with a few friends in tow for another stellar Roadside Graves set.
Reviews of these guys pretty consistently call them “alt.county” (which I’m not sure I would do) and often compare them to Dr.Dog (who I really don’t care for). Roadside Graves are hard to categorize in any case, but what really comes through in their live sets is the punk influence on their music. This is evident in their energy level, the edges of their sound and the posture of their lead singer John Gleason. He explains it this way: “This is what happens when you grow up in Jersey going to hard core shows at the community center. You can’t stop holding the mike this way, ever.”
Easily the most compelling thing about these guys, though, is the energy level they bring to the show. It’s always charming to see a band be genuinely appreciative of their audience, and these guys were clearly excited to be invited to play Pickathon (and had some funny comments about how nice everything/everyone in Oregon is). They also worked a couple acoustic songs into each set, getting off the stage and playing in the middle of the crowd.
So I pretty much demand you get to know The Roadside Graves if you haven’t yet.
Here’s a backyard song from Stereopathic.
And a really sweet video of a wedding set to their heartwrencher “Live Slow”