The Gracious Few Hot

Added by James Gaden     February 21, 2011    
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The Gracious Few - Camden Barfly (UK), 18th February 2011

For those of you who got hold of a copy of Fireworks #43, you'll have noticed my interview with Chad Taylor of new group The Gracious Few - and you should have gotten the vibe that I was mightily impressed with their debut record. When I talked to Chad, he was recovering from a leg injury which caused the band's debut UK show to be delayed, but boy, was it worth the wait!

I'd not being to the Barfly before and I endured the two opening acts that I felt were totally inappropriate for the style of music the headliners play, before the Gracious Few were due to hit the stage at 10:00pm. There was a bit of a delay in changing over from the previous act and they appeared at 10:15. They also blew me away from their first song.

The sheer power of this band is amazing. None of them are strangers to success, with Taylor, bassist Patrick Dahlheimer and drummer Chad Gracey having shifted 20 million records from their previous band Live, and lead vocalist Kevin Martin and guitarist Sean Hennesy from Candlebox having several million copies and some platinum albums under their belts too. The quality of their performance and sound were a clear indicator that these guys were the real deal and despite all having played stadiums, being in the Barfly bothered them not one bit, because they are delighted to build this new band from the ground up and do it all again from scratch.

'Honest Man' was phenomenal with Kevin Martin owning the stage and never still, despite only having about three cubic feet to himself. Chad Gracey was indefatigable on drums, working seamlessly with Dalheimer's bass lines. Taylor held the riffs down while Sean Hennessey soloed like a man possessed. And that was just the opening number.

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The group elected to play the bulk of their debut album and every song shone live. Martin went for every high note and threw in some he didn't need to, hitting pretty much everything. 'Crying Time' showed a slightly more subtle side to the band with a great vocal from Martin, while the Led Zeppelin-eqsue 'Guilty Fever' pleased everybody in the place.

The band gave a menacing rendition of the spooky 'Tredecim' and got everybody moving with 'Silly Thing'. They also debuted a brand new song called 'Labour Of Love' which, while I'm not a fan of band's debuting new songs before they've been recorded, went down well enough. They also threw in a cover of Depeche Mode's 'Its No Good' as well as jamming snippets of 'Baba O'Riley' and 'Gimme Shelter' in amongst their own songs.

When the band went into the final straight with 'Appetite' there was a roar from the crowd, showing their appreciation for the band and their music, before things were brought to an end with 'Sing'. it was a fantastic gig, the only downside being due to the time restrictions, they didn't get to air everything off the album, so I missed out on hearing the excellent 'Nothing But Love', but it's a minor gripe. I'd have preferred that over the Depeche Mode cover, but I can't knock TGF for playing one of their favourites in with their own stuff, because that's what new bands do.

Having never seen any of the guys before live with any of their bands, I wasn't sure how they'd be, but the gig was fantastic and they are a superb live band with a healthy reserve of great songs. Kevin Martin asked the crowd if it was loud enough, and when some wag said "Yes!" he replied "We have a saying in America, it's called rock 'n' roll. Look it up!" If you do, there will probably be a picture of the Gracious Few as a definition.

James Gaden

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