Goddamn Gallows - live in Grand Rapids (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Goddamn Gallows

live in Grand Rapids (2014)

live show

Empty Orchestra from Flint, MI opened the show at the Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids on May 22, 2014. . Their sound was a combination of 70's psychedelia and 90's alt–rock. They were quite good at building tension over the course of a song. Their music made me feel a bit on edge, and I mean that as a compliment. I'm often guilty of showing up late to miss the first band or two, but I'm glad I caught these guys (and girl).

Two Cow Garage from Columbus, OH was stuffed in the middle of the bill. They played a slightly abbreviated set amidst a tour that was mostly headlining dates. These guys always get lumped into the alt–country category, and I was pleasantly surprised by how aggressive their live show was. They are a stripped down trio that plays their guts out. All three of them sing, so while the music is bare bones, the vocal arrangements are a cut above. This sets them apart from a lot of the groups doing the country punk thing. Guitarist Micah Schnabel has a great raspy voice that is well suited to the sometimes melancholy material. I picked up one of their albums, and will definitely be paying more attention to them in the future.

What can be said about Goddamn Gallows– To call them an Americana act would not do them justice. They combine elements of punk, rockabilly, country, gospel and eastern European influences. The band features guitar, stand–up bass, banjo, drums and accordion/washboard. The music manages to be both old–timey and menacing. These guys are a filthy, stinking freakshow, jammed into a van and delivered for your entertainment. The driving beat makes you want to drink your beer a little faster, and do some kind of awkward dance.

While music is the main focus, Goddamn Gallows are also interesting visually. They look like a cross between a biker gang and carnival barkers. I can't remember the last time I saw so many neck tattoos and so much facial hair. The interaction among band members was often comical. They definitely have their stage show down to a science. The accordion helped to add to the funny/creepy vibe. The band didn't even seem to mind the constant barrage of empty beer cans being thrown their way.

Goddamn Gallows were born on the gritty streets of Detroit, and they still carry that spirit with them. Their work ethic is very blue collar and that's evident in the live show, for sure.