|Label:||Burning Heart / Epitaph|
Well, this is the show I've been waiting for for 15 years. New Noise was on heavy rotation at all the punk / hardcore-nights in Berlin in the late 90's, and of course the album was equally heavily played at all our houses. In our youthful arrogance, we were probably ignorant of the politics of the band - all that mattered were the tunes.
And what tunes they were. In my humble opinion, The Shape of Punk to Come was an album of such immense vision that it took the rest of the hardcore scene at least ten years to match it - and I'll be hard pressed to mention anyone creating music of such staying power. Lack, perhaps. Amanda Woodward. Arsen.
Already at 20.30, half an hour before show-time, the street in front of Razzmatazz is packed with people drinking cheap cans of beer. I play a game of "Spot-the-Swede", but except for my buddy, it doesn't seem like there are many of them here. Then it's "Spot-the-Swedish-T-shirt", which is a lot easier, as half the crowd seems to be dressed in shiny new Refused shirts, possibly bought at the show at the Primavera Sound festival half a year earlier. (Our very own Honch and Tom W. give their account of the festivities, as well as the Refused show, here.) Randy are also represented, so are Millencolin. Seems that a good part of the crowd dug out their old Burning Heart T-shirts for bonus scenester points.
And at 21:00 precisely, we all shuffle through the gates into the presence of the most important hardcore band of the '90's. Please disagree in the comments.
And it is good. And it is intense. And we're right in front of the mixing desk at the back,and the sound is magnificent, and they jump and they play and somehow it's hard to believe that it's been 15 years since the record came out. Except for a few oldies, the show consists of songs from Shape. And that was what we came to hear tonight and it's good. So good, in fact, it's almost too much. 90 minutes of pure exhilaration…it's almost emotional.
Razzmatazz can pride itself in a massive sound system, and it is a great venue for this kind of show - in general. But somehow Refused's political stance gets devalued at such a commercial venue. It's hard to take calls for revolution seriously, when the tickets are 20 euro-bucks and the capitalists are raking it in behind the bar, which is complete with LCD-screens touting the latest in Hollywood propaganda. On the other hand, nostalgia is a strong force and enough to make me pay up - even though this reunion smacks a little (a lot?) of obvious cash-in.
Yes, politically poignant songs played by people in their forties, who since tried and failed in a number of other musical ventures…yeah, exactly. Thankfully Dennis L. (Sweden's sexiest man!) kept the on-stage banter to a minimum, so the songs could just breathe on their own. And that they did. Apart from a fumble somewhere in the middle, Refused killed the crowd and it seems everyone knew the songs by heart. Fairly surprising, considering, again, that the Shape came out in 1996.
And like that 90 minutes have passed. They bow and thank the crowd for the good vibes, and we all shuffle back out, just as quick as we got in. And that was that - the second coming of Refused. Here's to nostalgia and not being disappointed - to summer holidays and punk routines.
Posted: Thu 11 October 2012