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THE GRACIOUS FEW
Camden Barfly, 18 February 2011
They may be
a new name, but The Gracious Few have a substantial pedigree, bringing
together three members of Live and two from Candlebox, two of the most
successful standard bearers of the 1990's post-grunge movement.
Throwing Copper album went multi-platinum, but this new collaboration is
a labour of love, and the band are keen to get back to basics, playing
small venues at affordable prices. Hence the sole UK date of a European
tour being at the 200 capacity Barfly, usually reserved for up and
got value for money with a trio of such wannabees supporting. However
while young Mancunians The Target impressed with a tight,
hard-driving punky sound that took me back to an early Jam or
Undertones, Axel Loughrey's material grew increasingly monotonous
and indie band The Gin Riots were simply ill-suited to this bill.
You get no
gimmicks from The Gracious Few, but a stamp of quality
throughout. Particularly impressive is how well matched a team their
guitarists are, Live's Chad Taylor laying down some dark, chunky riffs
giving Candlebox's Sean Hennessey the freedom to launch some searing,
higher-pitched solos, which also give their sound more of a classic hard
rhythm section of Patrick Dahlheimer and Chad Gracey provide a solid yet
creative backbone throughout. Singer Kevin Martin, also from Candlebox,
is a versatile singer with a fine vocal tone and range, though oddly he
hid his face behind shades all set long.
Closer, the first few hard grinding numbers were not too dissimilar in
style from their old bands' sound. Ballad Crying Time, and Best of You,
with a slightly funky Maroon 5 type feel, momentarily relaxed the pace
before it picked up again with Guilty Fever, with the band launching
into some improvised jamming which never became self-indulgent.
self-titled album formed the bulk of the set - with no material from
their original bands - but they still dropped in a new song, Labour of
Love, and professing an unlikely love for Depeche Mode, a cover of Its
As the set
built to a climax it was obvious that the uncompromising Honest Man,
which reminded me of Soundgarden, and the hard rocking Appetite have
swiftly become crowd favourites. Sing is a more mellow, lazily winding
song, but Sean's extended guitar outro turned it into a mini epic and
the perfect set closer.
any prejudices about grunge: as Audioslave did a few years ago, The
Gracious Few have married their alternative roots with sound that owes
just as much to Led Zeppelin and other classic rockers. And this was a
great opportunity to see some masters of their craft in a small venue.
by Andy Nathan
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