Refused at Terminal 5
Refused predicted the future of punk with The Shape of Punk To Come. Not only was it in the album’s name, it was in the music itself. During the band’s tenure, they received little praise and critical acclaim, but years after they imploded, they found a following. Upon hearing they were reuniting, I was skeptical about whether it was genuine or a cash grab. When they posted an official statement about their decision to tour again, I got a bit choked up reading it. The words and feelings expressed in the statement came off heartfelt and honest – which made me more than ecstatic to see them return.
Refused never gave The Shape Of Punk To Come the proper tour it deserved because band members were quoted as saying that playing the first few shows were emotionally devastating. This is touched on in the documentary “Refused Are Fucking Dead!” but they toured the album in 1998, and eventually cancelled the tour which followed with a break up statement. Given the band’s troubled and storied history, their new devotees were finally given the opportunity they were hoping for. As soon as tickets went on sale for a reunion show in NYC, I obviously jumped at he chance to see them perform for night two at Terminal 5. Attending the show brought up a lot of emotions and had me revisiting experiences I hadn’t thought about since living out the hardcore scene in Vegas. The whole place was swarming with sweaty veteran fans and you just knew things were about to get violent (and not just because it was overly warm)!
The crowd burst into excitement when the band opened with “Worms of The Senses/Faculties Of The Skull.” The five dudes of Refused played with so much brute force and determination, it filled our musical void with what it had been missing. It was exhilarating to see the band members in top shape and dressed to kill. David Sandström banged on his drums like he was whipping a nemesis, Kristofer Steen and Jon Brännström violently ripped away at their guitars, Magnus Flagge plucked his bass like it was on fire, and Dennis Lyxzén pacing presence was like Scott Weiland in his prime. Refused, now older men, put more soul into the show than most young musicians do these days – a sad realization for the modern generation.
I have to say that Dennis Lyxzén is the most underrated front man I have witnessed yet, speaking to the crowd with true passion and command through motivational words for a generation eager for change. At the end of the set, he urged the crowd to stay wild, stay hungry, and stay curious. Tears were coming down slowly from my eyes – but I honestly didn’t give a fuck. I left feeling energized and inspired for whatever the the rest of the year holds. In the words of Refused, boredom isn’t on the table in 2012. See you guys in the pit this summer!