Live Review: Graveyard Train The Hi-Fi Bar

4 June 2012 | 7:37 pm | Madeleine O’Gorman

From the word go, their sinister undertone is exposed, one that’s both fearsome and addictive as all hell.

You know you're in for an interesting night when the stage is adorned with mannequin heads and daisy chains. Keeping closely in theme with the 'spook' is opening act Jackals, who thrill with heavy reverb and measured, mighty beats. Multi-instrumentalist Mike Lillis ensures most eyes are firmly glued to his side of the stage as he rotates between the clarinet, piano accordion and one impressive handmade guitar resembling a belt of frets. They end with the cryptic and resounding VST; however it's the line, “Walking down Slag Street” from an earlier song that sticks. Howl At The Moon arrive next with some mean-looking equipment. Their tunes are absolutely absorbing and akin to that of PJ Harvey, with highlight, The Hostage, drawing the biggest applause.

There's definitely no shortage of beards, red lipstick and polka dots. The Hi-Fi is packed to the brim, the crowd obviously keen to see horror-country outfit Graveyard Train for the second night in a row, a remarkable feat for the Melbourne lads. Word on the street suggests that last night's show was phenomenal, further raising the stakes for tonight. The lights are cut as the sweet sound of the Willy Wonka tune, Pure Imagination, rings through the room while the daisy chains glow – a glorious, suggestive disparity before what's to come. The six men pile onstage with a demonic presence that can only be seen to believe, opening with One Foot In The Grave from their highly acclaimed new album, Hollow. From the word go, their sinister undertone is exposed, one that's both fearsome and addictive as all hell. Beau Skowron has devilish, bulging eyes that roam around the crowd, wickedly licking his lips in a satanic way.

Their unparalleled set invites ominous rumblings through banter and song, especially when united to form an all-male choir, producing deep, sonorous vocals that shoot up your spine. Their killer new single, I'm Gone, is fast and sweaty, along with many of their new ones. Lead singer Nick Finch and band share a solid camaraderie that elevates the set, especially when they play old favourites from The Drink, The Devil And The Dance. Bit By A Dog is a highlight and one that has the crowd crooning every word while the band furiously belt away to a masterly, haunting rhythm. There's no filler, no 'time-to-go-to-the-bar' songs, only pure animated madness that has you hooked from start to finish. They're unrivalled and unlike anything you'll ever see in the way of live music.