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Fourteen years ago, Refused played what, up until last month, was their last show in a grimy basement in Harrisonburg, Virginia. A crowd of only forty or so people saw what is arguably one of the most influential bands of the last twenty years implode in the haze of infighting and police lights. Ten years ago I was first shown their landmark album The Shape of Punk to Come in the back of a high school Spanish class, with the mystical allure that “you will never ever get to see this”. Viewing the too esoteric for its own good documentary Refused are Fucking Dead only seemed to drive this point home. For all intents and purposes “dead” was what they were going to stay. That is why earlier this year when it was announced that Refused were reuniting for a slew of festival dates it came as a shock, not only because of the years of still spiteful attitudes but because for just about everyone who has ever listened to The Shape of Punk To Come Refused’s absence was an obvious given, just like gravity or E=MC^2.

With their Coachella appearance the day after, last night Refused sold out the Glass House in Pomona in seconds in what was by far one of the most talked about festival one offs in a week full of great word of mouth club shows. At 10 PM the lights at the Glass House began to dim and a low drone started to make its way through the monitors. It built and built until it made the THX screen at your local movie theater sound like a hushed whisper. For fifteen straight minutes it was as though a jet engine was signaling all of those still outside to finish their cigarettes and get inside. Finally in an emotionally rigged split second the hum subsided and Refused broke out onto the stage with the title track to their 1998 opus. It was  if though the last fourteen years never existed. For an hour and a half the corner of Thomas and Second Street  in Pomona was a time capsule transporting a sea of wide-eyed twenty somethings to a time that they were just on the cusp from participating in. Refused were spot on. Every note rung out with the same precision and clarity as on recording only now the energy was tangible.

Just about every song one would expect to hear from the Swedes was performed in a burst of violent adrenaline. The focus of the evening was The Shape of Punk to Come, and with good reason. Songs like “The Deadly Rhythm” and “Worms of the Senses / Faculties of the Skull” are still as visceral over a decade, if not more so due to to what can only be a more divisive and fearful political climate across the world than when the songs were originally written. The crowd hung on every riff and every drum beat, roaring back in unison almost as loud as the band themselves. As the “main” set came to a close and the lights went black it was obvious what was about to happen next: “New Noise”. It was absolutely electric. There was a final push towards the barricade as Refused broke into what is not only their most well known song, but their defining message. In what seemed as only a blink of an eye the somber gypsy strings of “Tannhauser/Derive” ushered in the close of the evening leaving the 800 capacity venue screaming the refrain of “Boredom won’t get me tonight” in soaring unison. As the house lights came on, only one word came to mind — Perfect.

Setlist:
The Shape of Punk to Come
Refused Party Program
Liberation Frequency
Rather Be Dead
Coup d’état
Summerholidays vs. Punkroutine
The Deadly Rhythm
Hook, Line and Sinker
Circle Pit
Refused Are Fucking Dead
Life Support Addiction
Worms of the Senses / Faculties of the Skull
Encore:
New Noise
Tannhäuser / Derivè





Athom
04.13.12
Still can't believe I got to see this.

eternium
04.13.12
So sick. I can't wait until they play Worms in Coca Cola City.

Satellite
04.13.12
damn. nice vids. so motherfucking stoked to see them this summer.

AliW1993
04.13.12
So jealous, I really hoped to see them this summer but they're only doing one UK date.

Fantastic write-up.

Scoot
04.13.12
shank you in the balls

AliW1993
04.13.12
Holy shit New Noise looks incredible

kitsch
04.13.12
sounds like an amazing setlist

IsItLuck?
04.13.12
nice review

Athom
04.13.12
I forgot to mention that Davey Havok was in the crowd and won the title of mosh warrior last night.

macman76
04.13.12
Wow!
/Crossing fingers for a west coast tour

Tyrael
04.13.12
Ugh

Great write-up adam

Yazz_Flute
04.13.12
jelly

Kris.
04.13.12
lol davey havok
that vid of him performing with ceremony is cool as fuck

Blackbelt54
04.13.12
nice, I saw ATDI this week so I can relate to this post

Irving
04.13.12
Great write up Adam. The Staff should be doing more stuff like this, instead of writing on how to prepare mixtapes for girls ;)

(Ilu SS)

Captain North
04.13.12
I bet they never come to Australia. And then they'll sell out before I get a chance to by any.

Athom
04.13.12
I'm always down to do more write ups like this. I was thinking of doing profiles on a lot of the smaller US hardcore labels that are fostering the new DIY scene and on regional scenes/up and coming bands. I think it would be cool if the blog was more music related and less "I listen to music" related, too.

wabbit
04.13.12
shit band

Blackbelt54
04.13.12
redsky: you mean like Deathwish and those kinds of labels? that would be really cool

TheJackal
04.13.12
more UK dates needed!!!! so jealous

Athom
04.13.12
I was thinking smaller like Melotov Records, Radical Friends, Mayfly Records, The Ghost is Clear Records, Fist in the Air records, and Vitriol Records.

Blackbelt54
04.13.12
awesome, I would definitely read the blog posts more if it was stuff like that

Irving
04.14.12
"I'm always down to do more write ups like this. I was thinking of doing profiles on a lot of the smaller US hardcore labels that are fostering the new DIY scene and on regional scenes/up and coming bands. I think it would be cool if the blog was more music related and less "I listen to music" related, too."

Please do. Seriously, please do. I would love that.

Because, y'know, that's what this site should fundamentally be about - the sharing of all experiences musically related, and a HUGE part of all that is the stage. I find it a near travesty that we barely write about any of the shows that any of us attend (and hell, I KNOW we attend quite a few). It's a trend which I think we should really be pushing for on the blog here. And not to overstep my bounds or anything, but I was also thinking that if anyone on the Contributor board attended a show/did an interview with members of a band/etc it should probably be considered for inclusion as a blogpost as well. The Staffs + Mods should get 100% discretion of whether it goes on, though.

FelixCulpa
04.14.12
NIce write-up. I'm excited to see them live later in august. Ohh and you can catch them live today on the cochella live stream over at youtube later today.

Athom
04.14.12
it's crazy considering that Dennis turns 40 in a couple months

TMobotron
04.14.12
"Can I scream?" looked epic as fuck, as expected.

taylormemer
04.14.12
"Because, y'know, that's what this site should fundamentally be about - the sharing of all experiences musically related, and a HUGE part of all that is the stage. I find it a near travesty that we barely write about any of the shows that any of us attend (and hell, I KNOW we attend quite a few). It's a trend which I think we should really be pushing for on the blog here. And not to overstep my bounds or anything, but I was also thinking that if anyone on the Contributor board attended a show/did an interview with members of a band/etc it should probably be considered for inclusion as a blogpost as well. The Staffs + Mods should get 100% discretion of whether it goes on, though."

I propose a Contributors Corner

Irving
04.14.12
Hahaha that would be rather cute XD

thedougler
04.14.12
what no pump the breaks?

Transient
04.14.12
I would lose my fucking SHIT if I saw Refused live.

clercqie
04.14.12
Yeah, they are going to rule so hard on Groez

CasinoColumbus
04.14.12
Yeah, they are going to rule so hard on Groez [2] Can't fucking wait.

clercqie
04.14.12
TWO WEEKS BABY!!!

Technoise
04.14.12
I really like the techno breakdown in New Noise

YourDarkAffected
04.14.12
Their live show looks stunningly beautiful

captaincrunch11
04.15.12
Awesome

Acanthus
04.15.12
Wonderful writing, this definitely sounds like a very unique experience.

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