Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Refused @ The Warfield, San Francisco. 4/18/12.

Refused are fucking ALIVE!
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd be writing a review of a Refused concert. The band had been broken up for years before I ever discovered them during the early millennium. They were my posthumous punk rock heroes. A band of ghosts, who's final album, The Shape of Punk to Come, I gladly let haunt me for the next 11 years. I always hoped Metallica would stop sucking one day, or that Rage Against The Machine would reform, but I never had such thoughts about Refused. After the band self destructed in the fall of 1998 during a torturous tour of the Eastern United States, their official press release claimed the band would never reunite and urged newspapers to burn all of their photographs. The title of this release, also a song from their last album, "Refused Are Fucking Dead."

Flash forward to January 2012. Refused announce their triumphant return. Music geeks around the globe rejoice. I wasn't down to bust the bank seeing them at this years Coachella but WAS ready, willing and able to make the road trip up to San Francisco for their special show at The Warfield. I was lucky and snagged balcony seats within seconds tickets went on sale. The Warfield has a capacity of like 2,200+  and the show sold out in literally one minute. So I was lucky enough to snag two tickets for the show. Icing on the cake for the whole event, the Hives were playing in support of Refused as well. Two of my favorite Swedish rock bands playing together. Mind = Blown.

So my girlfriend and I, after surviving a wonderfully sweaty concert with The Hives the night before, woke up early the next day and drove six hours up North to San Francisco. We had awesome little vacation but the main purpose of the trip never left my mind: REFUSED.


The night of the show we arrived on time for once. That never happens in LA. Always stuck in traffic or having to hassle parking. Anyways, we got there on time, found our seats and I finally got to see the opening band, The Bronx. It's funny I had to go to SF to see an LA band. Again, they were always on opening slots of tours and I'd always arrive late! Oh wells, they were awesome. The Hives were next and were uber entertaining. It was fun watching them perform to a less enthusiastic crowd than their mob of loyal fans who danced all night at The Glass House. Tonight the band was in attack mode, still full of fun loving energy but determined to make the Hardcore/Metal head die-hards standing with their arms crossed acknowledge that The Hives existed.

So The Bronx and The Hives both rocked. In fact I'd say just seeing the two of them together would have made for an awesome show by itself. But of course everyone inside the theater started getting ancy as soon as The Hives wrapped up. The time was approaching. REFUSED was next!

Finally, after a dozen year wait, Refused took the stage and everyone in the venue went nuts. They opened with "Worms of the Senses/Faculties of the Skull," the first track off Shape of Punk to Come, and I was suddenly transformed into an alternate Back To The Future style alternate reality/timeline. This could not be happening. I thought I was dreaming...but I wasn't! Refused was NOT fucking dead. They were alive, kicking, and rocking the fuck out.

They played pretty much every song off The Shape of Punk to Come (except "Protest Song 68'" which was ok with me), "Rather Be Dead" "Coup d'etat" "Hook, Line and Sinker" and "The Slayer" from Songs to Fan The Flames of Discontent and a super old track, "Everlasting."

Dennis gave a cool little speech before "Rather Be Dead" and it instantly reminded me of my post from early 2011 about the Arab Spring uprisings.
I dedicated this same song to all those suffering during the throes of the revolution. Sad but true how prophetic Refused's music has become over the past 14 years.

So the band sounded amazing. You'd never guess they'd be inactive for so long. Hell, they even looked pretty much the same! They're pushing 40 these days and you'd never know it. The crowd response was insane. The pit was bouncing and moving all night. Dudes climbed up and where stage diving into the crowd. Just about everyone was singing along the whole night as well. Everyone in the audience had about a decade of practice so, we sounded great also.

Highlight of the night, when the band came back for their encore and started playing "New Noise," the floor started shaking. Refused almost triggered a massive San Francisco Earthquake this I'm sure of. "New Noise" was my ringtone on my girlfriend's phone for oh, at least 5 years. Now we both stood together as Refused ripped through the song in person. Totally surreal, amazing experience.
highlight of 2012.

15 comments:

  1. You know a band is good when they almost cause an earthquake. I'm glad that the show was such a success, and lived up to yours, and everybody else's, expectations. It took 12 years but they came back to kick the shit out of your eardrums.

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  2. Wow sounds like an amazing show and one you enjoyed throughly, glad it was everything you expected, as sometimes when they get back together it can be a let down, as this surely wasn't the case.

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  3. I didn't know them before, but I have to say that I really like them. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. I've never heard of the Refused before buddy but now I get to listen to them they actually sound damn fine, I'm pretty envious you got to go, I'm glad you enjoyed it though!

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  5. Didnt know them, sounds like a cool band.

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  6. wonderfully sweaty concert – print that on their concert album cover.

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  7. Soooo fucking jealous. I hope to god I get to see them in Chicago with Off! come July

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  8. Refused! Whoa, so much nostalgia for Warp tour haha. I had no idea they were back together, let alone in LA... shame I missed it, especially after reading your synopsis.

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  9. It's not uncommon for me to be jealous when I read these posts. I'm not sure if I've posted how close I've been to hating you for it, too. I don't hate you right now, but,f***. I'm definitely jealous.

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  10. these arent the refused i remember... or maybe im just thinking of a different band completely. hahah yeah i was, i was thinking of the expelled. wicked vids though.

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  11. Oh man, that seems like an awesome show! :D

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  12. never heard of them too but their music is definitely worth listening for..

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  13. Looks like you really enjoyed yourself. :)

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