Graveyard Club spooks up The Cabin

Minneapolis band showcased their 80s-inspired synth-pop with a twist at The Cabin this past Friday

More stories from Alyssa Anderson

Getting Weird
December 13, 2018

Photo by Alyssa Anderson

Graveyard Club has frequented many music venues in the Twin Cities and will be traveling to Iceland for the Airwaves festival in November.

In the midst of a sweltering Indian Summer night, sweaty students and community members alike sought refuge in the cozy confines of  The Cabin last Friday evening.

The halls of Davies echoed with the sounds of moody synth-pop, attracting curious passers by to Graveyard Club’s Eau Claire debut.

The Minneapolis-based band entered the music scene in 2013 after recording some spooky synth tunes in the basement of a 19th century mansion in St. Paul, according to their website, and have been playing at top music venues in the Twin Cities and touring across the nation ever since.

This up-and-coming group was formed initially by front man Matt Schufman and guitarist Mike Wojtalewicz, who met while teaching in the Minneapolis area. Drummer Cory Jacobs and bassist/vocalist Amanda Zimmerman joined not long after.

Schufman said the band draws inspiration from bands like New Order and The Cure — they even threw in a cover of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”

“We wanted to go for a spooky vibe,” Schufman said. “Our name was originally Monster Club until we found out there was an Irish band called No Monster Club.”

“They kind of cyberbullied us out of the name,” Wojtalewicz said with a laugh.

Eventually, the band landed on Graveyard Club, a name that perfectly embodies the spooky vibe they were hoping for, Schufman said.

Against the backdrop of The Cabin’s colorful lights, heads bopped and feet tapped as audience members sipped on coffee drinks or craft beers.

“Their music was kind of like a spooky Bruce Springsteen,” said Mary Shaw, a junior English critical studies student. “It was like an exuberant symphony and I just wanted to dance.”

Cas Henthorne, a sophomore Elementary Education student, said she heard the music and decided to check it out.

“I was in Davies on my way back to my dorm when I heard some music,” Henthorne said. “So I sat down and starting listening instead and I’m glad I stayed.”

Their August 2016 album “Cellar Door” features haunting yet poppy tracks with foreboding lyrics like “the wolves are free, there’s nothing left / wait for death to come for me with a suitcase and a tambourine.” Though these words may be off-putting on their own, Schufman said he and the gang have a knack for creating upbeat, danceable tunes out of creepy lyrics.

Although they have only been part of the Minneapolis music scene for a short number of years, Graveyard Club has received their fair share of positive press.

British music magazine New Musical Express (NME) compared the group to The Cure without the bouffant hair or Echo & The Bunnymen wearing t-shirts on the beach.

“On tracks like ‘The Night is Mine’ they breathe new life into the usually dark and gloomy genre of goth rock,” NME said.

The established music and arts magazine Killer Ponytail praised the group, saying their “other-worldly aesthetic permeates the tracks with reverb drenched synths and lilting vocals coming at you like a phantom teenage fantasy.”

So far, Graveyard Club’s music career has been wildly successful. Schufman said the foursome will be traveling to Reykjavik, Iceland in November to perform their first international show at the Airwaves festival.

He also said the band will continue touring across the United States and is scheduled to perform on Oct. 28 at Icehouse in Minneapolis to debut their new single “Ouija.”