Showing posts with label Refused. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Refused. Show all posts

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Top 5 Concerts of 2012

I went to 16 concerts in 2012 (real professional/touring bands not friends or locals). That's two more than last year, but still about ten less per year from my heyday in the mid-late 2000's. Getting old sucks.

Anyways, here are my top 5 favorite concerts from last year:

The Dillinger Escape Plan/NAILS/Dangers! @ Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock. 1/18/12.
The first show of last year was pure insanity. Introduced to Dangers!, NAILS shook the floor boards and Dillinger caused sheer pandemonium as usual. I sprained my wrist in the pit, and damn near lost my voice singing "Milk Lizard." My last time seeing Jeff Tuttle live with the band also. You will be missed man.

Refused & The Hives @ The Warfield Theater, San Francisco. 4/18/12.
Road trip/vacation. Check. 2nd time seeing The Hives in same week. Check. Watching Refused perform songs off The Shape of Punk to Come live even though the band broke up in 1998 and you've only enjoyed their music posthumously. HOLY FUCK. Singing "New Noise" with the thousands of other awe struck individuals, worshiping our mighty Swedish Overlords = priceless.

Hatebreed @ The Fox Theater, Pomona. 9/29/12.
Tour celebrated the tenth anniversary of Hatebreed's Perseverance album. This was the greatest karaoke night of my life. Every song on that album is like a tattooed Drill Sergeant. You will lift weights, scream and smile like an idiot when Perseverance plays and you will like it. The most fun I've had at a metal/hardcore show in years.

Converge/Torche/NAILS @ The Echoplex, Los Angeles. 10/28/12.
Sickest tour lineup of the year. Every band slayed (even "local openers" Dangers!) but Converge took the cake, like always. They played "Jane Doe" at FYF, but kept the old/rare song motif going this night, playing "Heartless," "You Fail Me" and "My Unsaid Everything." New songs off their killer new album were top notch live as well. It was Converge overload and I loved every minute of it.

No Doubt @ The Gibson Amphitheater, Universal City. 11/24/12.
I was worried this show might suck because I spent a good chunk of 2012 hating on No Doubt's latest album Push and Shove. Luckily, they played a crap load of old material and, miraculously, those new songs sound kind of awesome live. Gwen Stefani remains one of the hottest women in the universe.

Friday, September 21, 2012

FYF Fest 2012, Los Angeles.

There Will Be Dust
FYF is like a hipster wet dream. It's a smaller scale Coachella held annually at Los Angeles State Historic Park in Chinatown. The festival has grown in popularity over the years and now attempts to be an all encompassing music event/mecca for the different LA "underground" music scenes. Art school hipster types, indie rock dorks, electronic dance fiends and even punk/hardcore aficionados were all accounted for at this year's fest. Dr. Egon Spengler once warned in Ghostbusters that one should never, "cross the streams," but it seems like the promoters of FYF Fest (which literally stands for: Fuck Yeah Fest Fest) could care less.

This was my second FYF experience. I went in 2009 to watch The Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge and Torche all play on the smallest, most remote stage of the fest. I arrived late, saw "my" bands and bounced. Their performances were awesome but the festival didn't leave much of an impression. Well 2012's lineup once again featured Converge and the mighty Refused making a special pit stop in some other bands I actually don't hate/was curious to see.

Day 1:
 Girlfriend got off work a bit late. Unexpected carpool shenanigans. Parking was horrible and we ended up arriving later than expected.

I heard Hot Snakes finishing their set on the Hill St. Stage as we made out way to the entrance. Bummed I missed out. Caught the beginning of Sleigh Bells performing on the Main St. Stage to a huge crowd. Everyone seemed to love them...except me. I was bored to tears actually. We headed over to the Spring St. Stage to wait for Quicksand.

Some of you might recall I have a man crush on Walter Schreifels and how giddy I was over the Rival Schools reunion last year. Well, now he's back with his 90's post-hardcore band Quicksand and they fucking rocked. I'm familiar with Quicksand's music but never expected them to be so rad live. Of course, they've been broken up since the late 90's so, I never expected to see them period.

Headed over to the Main St. Stage and caught the end of M83 while waiting for Refused. I guess they have a big song on the radio these days but I never heard of them before. Way too synth for me. Not enough, um, balls I guess. Anywhoo, Refused came out and rocked my fucking world once again. Their reunion show in San Francisco was amazing. The crowd chanting, the rafters shaking, etc. This performance was something entirely though. The band played a shorter set but just ripped through every song. The festival was pretty huge and the diversity of the lineup meant there was a good number of people in attendance who didn't give two shits about Refused, so the band wasn't just preaching to the choir like in SF, they were hellbent on winning the entire festival over. Well, mission accomplished I'd say. Under the full moon, with the Downtown Los Angeles as their backdrop, Refused owned FYF 2012.

Day 2:
Girlfriend and I arrive on time and luckily, luck out with a sweet parking spot near the front entrance.

We wandered inside and catch the middle of Against Me!'s set on the Main St. Stage. I've never been a huge fan of this band but have to admit they totally won me over with their performance. A bunch of punks playing honest to goodness rock 'n' roll, Against Me! was like a breath of fresh air. I'd actually listen to the radio if I knew I'd hear stuff like that all the time. Also, the band's singer is transgendered and in the process of becoming a woman. Kudos for her. She's not quite there yet physically, I just hope her transformation doesn't effect that awesome punk rock howl/voice that's so integral to the band's sound.

Next, we scurried across the park to the see Lightning Bolt tear the Spring St. Stage to shreds. This band is literally insane. A duo that creates more noise and spastic bursts of energy than should be humanly possible. Much to my delight, the drummer is the star of the show, his kit is triggered and creates a bunch of distorted/electronic sounds. The dude also "sings," while wearing a kooky Mexican wrestler mask over his face with a built in headset microphone. His co-conspirator on bass absolutely shreds and would make Cliff Burton proud with the sheer amount of distorted awesomeness he creates. I heard good things about this band but was totally blown away.

Dinosaur Jr.
was next on the Main St. Stage. These guys are true rock legends. It pains me to admit that I barely got into them this year, knowing that so many bands I like are huge Dinosaur Jr. devotees. Anyways, I was overdosing on their music with Pandora leading up to FYF in anticipation. Thankfully, the band did not disappoint. Loud fuzzy guitars, over a snappy back beat and down home vocals that make me want to BBQ and smoke weed (too band I'm sXe eh?). As the sun was setting during their performance and the oppressive heat began to subside, everyone was just really stoked to watch their set.

Up next, was food! It was time to eat. We marched across the grounds and headed back toward the Spring St. Stage where many a food truck were located. The lines were long and the grub a bit pricey but I understand that's how these festival things work. Either way, the pastrami sandwich we got was damn delicious and well worth the wait so, I guess it all worked out nicely. We, almost nicely. See, Paul Banks (singer from Interpol) was doing his solo thing on the Spring St. Stage and the man bored me to tears. I was like, hey, Paul is in one of my favorite band's and now I can see/hear him while I order some much needed grub. Then I heard he and his backing band playing and thought, "I better swallow this sandwich whole, there's no time for chewing!" So yeah, Paul Banks, please don't quit your day job.

We browsed around some of the vendor booths and took in the sights, people watching, as we made our way across to the Hill St. Stage on the opposite end of the park. Converge was next and I needed to get a good spot. Here is where things get silly.

As some of you might remember, I just turned 27 years old in August. I've been going to concerts since I was 17. It's been a crazy decade of sweat filled mayhem. Mosh pits, stage dives, crowd surfing, dust storms, blood, bruises, busted glasses, I've seen it all. Well, I'm officially OLD now and Converge's performance at FYF 2012 confirms this.
Converge is easily one of my favorite bands around. Their popularity/legend has grown over the years, and with good reason, they're damn good. Anyways, they had quite a crowd at this year's FYF. We staked out a good spot near the right hand side of the stage to avoid the chaos/dust storm that was bound to happen once they started playing. Well I was right, shit got crazy during their performance and my girlfriend and I were pushed to the sidelines. However, even here from the relative safety of the outskirts, away from "the pit," people were still getting wild but mostly, just rude. There is a certain etiquette that exists in the underground metal/hardcore world. These obnoxious people slamming into us weren't regular Converge fans, these were random festival goers who were acting belligerent after spending a full day in the sun drinking and dancing to synth pop or whatever. Sooooo, I got a little annoyed that these hipster brats (or "tourists" in Fight Club speak) were enjoying the shit out of MY band Converge, while I stuck on the sidelines. I decided to stake my claim and ran down to the front of the stage and enjoy the end of their set like I did in the old days.

Well, I learned my lesson. The torn shirt, lost shoe, body aches from the many pile-on's and crowd surfers but most of all, the nasty sinus infection I endured the following week after eating/inhaling a mountain of dust, all helped reiterate what sadly, I already knew in the back of my mind. If you're over the age of 25, you have no business down in the front of a Converge show...unless you have a lot of sick days saved up at work.

Converge was actually amazing as always. So much passion and energy in their performance. I can't believe they played "Jane Doe" either! Oh yeah, and some dude found my shoe and returned it to me as I limped back toward my girlfriend's waiting arms after they finished playing. Needless to say, I was done after that. I wanted to stay and see American Nightmare and Turbonegro but alas, this old man ran out of fuel.

Overall, FYF 2012 was good times...sinus infection be damned.

This was how FYF 2012 went down. Hot hipster chicks, and goofy ass dudes. God I love the internet.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Tickets Purchased

I got my ticket for this year's FYF Fest (Fuck Yeah Fest...Fest). I went two year's ago when Dillinger Escape Plan and Converge played together on the festival's third stage. Combined, they put on one of the best show's ever. That's also the night where I discovered Torche.

Well, Converge is playing the fest again this year, but this time with Refused. REFUSED. The band I took that road trip to San Francisco to see. They're headlining the festival. No way I'd miss this. I'm also itching to see:
  • Quicksand
  • Dinosaur Jr.
  • Turbonegro
  • Baroness
  • Hot Snakes
  • The Growlers
  • Fucked Up
  • Ceremony

Should be fun. Hopefully I don't ingest a shit ton of dirt like last time ( I was coughing black goo for a week). The Hives are also coming back to SoCal in fall. I can't believe I'll be seeing the Hives perform three times in 2012...that's more than I've seen them in the last seven years!

Here's some Baroness to end the post in style:

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.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Coachella 2012: Refused/At The Drive-In....Tupac!

Refused/At The Drive-In/2pac...back from the dead!

Back in January I lost my shit when Refused and At The Drive-In announced their were reuniting for this years Coachella festival. Two bands with two seminal albums I've listened to on end for the past 10+ years. Well, reality intervened and I decided not to bankrupt myself just to buy a ticket. It's cool though, I'm seeing Refused in San Francisco this week! Hopefully At The Drive-In stay together long enough to play more shows as well.

Here's footage from their reunions:

Ah, the power of the internet. Godbless Youtube.

Oh yeah...Tupac Shakur's holographic ghost made an appearance during Dr. Dre & Snoop Dog's headlining set last night, Obi-Wan style. I was watching the live stream on Youtube last night, exhausted from a long day at work and just about leap out of bed when Mr. Makaveli himself appeared onstage some 15 years after his death (murder =/ )

Wish I could have gone but glad I saved my cash. Especially since I'm taking that road trip to SF tomorrow! I'll be on a little vacation this week, see you folks when I return on Friday.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

HOLY FECES: Refused & At The Drive-In reunite/Coachella 2012 lineup

Around this time last year, I went on a massive rant about how much I hate large music festivals/rip offs like Coachella. As most of you might have noticed by now, I love seeing live music but I'm kind of spoiled and prefer smaller shows that won't test my patience or drain my wallet.

I went to Coachella in 2007 to see Rage Against The Machine's reunion. This was more than a concert, it was a childhood dream come true, an event I never thought would take place in a million years. Well it seems that hell froze over yesterday because two seminal bands from my youth announced their respective reunions and as luck would have it, they're both scheduled to play at Coachella 2012.

Refused & At The Drive-In: reunited and it feels soooo good.
Both Refused and At The Drive-In, two highly influential post-hardcore bands who've been dead and gone for over a decade are back!

The news of ATDI's reunion broke first, causing half of my facebook news feed to erupt with OMG status updates. That makes sense though, since At The Drive-In was fairly well known before they imploded and their ties to The Mars Volta has kept their memory alive all these years.

As I was logging off before heading to work last night, that's when the Refused bombshell broke. Holy FUCK I seriously started shaking. I mean, the band's unofficial slogan since even before they self destructed was, "Refused are fucking dead..." but not anymore! 

So I'm in a pickle. I basically NEED to see these two bands, but I really doubt they're going to play any special LA shows just for me. ATDI might do some more touring together, but Refused...I highly doubt that. Of course tickets are close to $300! As much as I rejoice over the news of these reunions, I really hate Goldenvoice/Coachella and everyone else who is holding these acts hostage for such a kings ransom.

Still, I wouldn't mind seeing Radiohead, Artic Monkeys, Madness, Explosions in the sky, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, The Shins, The Hives, Jeff Mangum (from Neutral Milk Hotel), Le Butcherettes and you know, Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg.

It looks like I better start saving up my pennies.

PIGS FLEW THROUGH THE GLORIOUS SKY. Refused + At The Drive-In reunions = I'm going to Coachella 2012.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Serve and Protect...the banks.

Last February I dedicated a Refused track to the rebels in Egypt who were in the midst of revolution. Today I dedicate another Refused song to the #OCCUPYWALLSTREET movement. Despite what the intellectuals at Fox News and The Wall Street Journal would have you believe, this is a legitimate movement and not just a bunch of dirty hippies looking for trouble.

There are new protests taking place in different cities across the country. Yes it's unorganized. Yes their demands aren't crystal clear or 100% uniform but guess what, that's what happens when you're an entirely grassroots movement with truly diverse membership that allows everyone an equal voice in the proceedings. That, and they're operating on the fucking sidewalk/city park.

The #OCCUPY movement is still in it's infancy. Even if the protesters are violently snuffed out by the militarized police/gestapo units in their respective cities (which could happen) the seeds of change have already been planted. People > Corporate/Political Greed.

This is arguably my favorite Refused song. It still knocks me on my ass every time I hear it.
"They told me that the classics never go out of style, but they do, they do..."

I got a bone to pick with capitalism and a few to break. Grab us by the throat and shake the life away. Human life is not commodity, figures, statistics or make believe. And yeah I like eating excrement and not getting paid for it. Play the guilt, play the fear and play the anxiety x2 Seduced by the opportunity and robbed of hope. Human suffering is not commodity, figures, statistics or make believe. Marginalise away the joy and sell us boredom. And yeah I like working doing nothing and not making anything. Blame the poor, blame the uneducated and blame the sick x2

I took the first bus out of Coca-Cola city cause it made me feel nauseous and shitty.I took the first bus out of Shell town cause they didn't want me hanging around. YEAH. YEAH. I took the first bus. Let's take the first bus out of here.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dedicated to all those in Egypt...

Meanwhile in Egypt...
I tend to shy away from political or religious posts, because nothing kills the mood of a blogger party quicker than talking about one's god or government. Despite this, hostilities continue to escalate in Egypt as I'm sure most of you who aren't living under a rock are aware of. The country is in the throes of a revolution, happening live as I type this from my semi-comfortable desk chair. I've studied the French and Russian revolutions and have always been fascinated by great social upheavals, but researching historic revolutions of the past, where death tolls are mere statistics, and witnessing one unfold before your eyes (via the internet) are two different things entirety. I personally support the protesters and their desire to oust the corrupt regime but at the same time, empathize with those bystanders who just don't want their families harmed/property damaged/lives destroyed.

I dedicate this "fight the power" jam from my favorite Swedish commies, Refused.

"Rather be dead than alive by your oppression
Rather be dead than alive by your design

Poisoned my fingers
Burned out my eyes
Cut down my throat
To be alive

Rather be dead than alive by your social values
Rather be dead than alive by your tradition

Poisoned my fingers
Burned out my eyes
Cut down my throat
To be alive

Rather be alive..."
I think the most poignant part of the song is the final lyric, "Rather be alive," as in...damn you for forcing us into this.

"Rather be alive"