DeFaced by Michael Stahl: Refused Are (Not) Fucking Dead

23 04 2012

DeFaced‘s Michael Stahl graces SNT with a concert review… !

In January, I wrote here that The Shape of Punk to Come, by the Swedish hardcore band Refused is a must-own album due to its uncanny levels of creativity and staggering influence on the world of heavy music. I’d also mentioned on a few occasions that the anti-capitalism/anti-establishment/anti-anything-organized lyrics contained in said record are still incredibly relevant and “could give the Occupy movement a potential rallying cry.” Thanks to a twist of fate, or sheer laziness, Da Leopard finally posted the piece about a week ago [ed’s note: i resent that..], days before Refused were set to play the yearly Music Festival To End All Music Festivals, also known as Coachella, and two sold-out nights at Terminal 5 in New York City, none of which I was aware were in the works upon penning my article last winter.

Incredibly, I was able to, not only seemingly score tickets to last night’s Terminal 5 show, but I hijacked them off StubHub just this past Tuesday for seventeen bleepin’ dollars! Throw in the required overnight shipping and fees and I swore that my fake Refused ticket was in the mail. But, oh no, by Friday afternoon my very legit-looking pass was in my hand and I cradled it like I might imagine one would a baby sloth who had lost its way.

Sunday had come and, wondering when the jig would be up, I anxiously handed my ticket over to the girl who really looked like she wanted to be there, so she could infrared Star Trek laser blast the barcode and, potentially, allow me into the venue. Alas, God saw that the ticket was good.

I was in. Like a boss, I got the rail (which means I was in the “front row” of a general admission show for those of you not familiar with the extensive concert-going lingo. If you’re really interested in getting the ball rolling on such an education, I suggest you look up “merch” and “wristband,” which has a distinct definition given the context).

The Brooklyn-based underground punk outfit Cerebral Ballzy was up first and boy were they bad. Despite the fact that nothing could lessen the level of excitement I was experiencing, it’s noteworthy to quickly offer to you just one of the baker’s dozen of reasons why they were so awful: their song topics. The singer apathetically attributed his inspiration for the indecipherable lyrics of their second tune to “the cheese triangle. This one’s about pizza.” From there they moved into songs about “drinking beer,” “skateboarding,” “not going to school,” which many of us “idiots” would “probably have to do tomorrow,” and, my personal favorite, “not having enough money for the bus.” I was wondering when the song about “buying a chain wallet” would grace us, but they must’ve forgotten to scrawl it on the set list.

Finally, the time came and Terminal 5 was effectively renamed Creedmoor Psychiatric Center. Properly, Refused unleashed the opening track of Shape to propel us down the white water rapids of sheer hardcore mania. Song after intricate song was performed with incredible precision, impressive for a “punk” band that, aside from their Friday night Coachella set, hadn’t played together since 1998. During their first break, the band’s frontman, Dennis Lyxzen, pleased the New York City crowd by crediting a half dozen old school local hardcore bands for inspiring them and telling an unfortunate story about misconstruing the borders of “New York,” having to once play in Long Island when they thought they’d booked a gig in Manhattan.

More music came and went with my ribs continuing to bruise up against the barrier as the frothing moshers forced the crowd to sway in every direction. Lou from Sick Of It All came out to perform “It’s Clobbering Time” and “Injustice System,” two New York Hardcore classics.

The most poignant moment of the night though came upon the introduction of two older crowd favorites from their second album, “Rather Be Dead” and “Coup D’Etat.” Lyxzen reflected upon his own lyrics in all of their songs, most of which were written over a decade and a half ago, calling them “naïve, dystopic, and angry.” Then he paused and noted that “they mean more today than they ever did,” which is why, after all these years, they finally decided to reunite.

Thus, the true purpose of this post has finally revealed itself. The Shape of Punk to Come, and perhaps the entire Refused catalogue, is emerging out of the “must-own” category and into another, more elite one. These songs are becoming some of the most important music ever written, standing next to the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, and Radiohead. Thankfully, the band is cognizant of this and, as I left Terminal 5 and walked through the hardest rain I could ever remember being in, I wondered what we would be in store for next.

Beginning to make his rounds on Internet blogs, Michael Stahl is on a mission to alter your perception of stuff. Be it the world of entertainment, sports, culture, or society as a whole, read him only with an open mind, or harm yourself trying. Check out his film and television “counter-criticism” blog Walter Peck Was Just Doing His Job. With whatever energy you have left, consume his interviews for IntellectualTimes.com, STAHLing for Time. He has marked his territory on MindBombed.com and now is proud to leave an imprint upon Sugar-N-Thunder.com.

Advertisements

Actions

Information

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s