The Glass House
April 12, 2012
Prior to Refused's intensely anticipated show at the Glass House, frontman Dennis Lyxzen posted a Youtube video on his Facebook artist page of punk legends The Germs performing "Lexicon Devil" at the Whisky in 1979. Lyxzen remarked that "we are going to do some last minute rehearsals so that we can sound at least as good as the Germs!" The performance he was speaking of was a perfect example of the repertoire of the early punk rock spectacle: raw, noisy, and driven more by the crash-and-burn minded forces behind the instruments than the actual physical parts controlling them. After so many years out of the live performance circuit, would he and Refused be able to capture the crux and core of what made Darby Crash and his band of punks so extraordinary? Only early Friday morning could say.
Though there had been trouble with Ticketfly and actually getting a hold of tickets, the organization outside of the Glass House for the Refused show was orderly and prompt. There seemed to be no visible mishaps or issues, and I suppose everyone was just very, very eager to hop inside, swing by the merch table, and get in position to witness the hardcore punk pulverizing they had been pining for since their early teenage years.
Introduced by foreboding background music that sent anticipation skyrocketing and lights perfectly set for an intimate rock 'n' roll show, Refused hit the stage to anxious claps and a powerfully active crowd.
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Even as the music and waves of rolling people trudged on, there was not a single error or dip in enthusiasm. During fist-clenching songs like "Coup D'etat" Dennis Lyxzen bellowed so passionately and the crowd reacted in such a way I could almost imagine an actual coup d'etat being inspired in the pre-dawn hours after the last note had been emitted. Though, at the same time, at any time during the event I'm sure anyone could have stumbled upon some creative ammunition to inspire a post-show rage.
All throughout the set Lyxzen channeled his inner performer and frontman. He assaulted the mic both through his screams and body, walked on the crowd and grabbed the hand of someone who I'm sure was meaning to play the role of crowd surf manic, and kept dancing as if Michael Jackson had been resurrected in Henry Rollins form. With Dennis Lyxzen, age and thirteen year vacation do not mean a thing.
Refused's live act last night accomplished everything any collector's edition clinging fan could have ever wished for, and it was a prime example of their vitality. They are not dead. They are alive, well, and invigorated on a level only a group of ferocious punk rockers who had been on a pent up hiatus could reach. Most importantly: "New Noise" sounds unbelievable live.
Critic's Bias: This was Refused playing. The band responsible for The Shape of Punk To Come. And this was their first West Coast performance since they broke up. I've daydreamed of nights like this since I was 15.
Overheard in the Crowd: Several outbursts of "HOLY SH*T!" and "WHAT THE F*CK," as well as the particularly entertaining gem "I think Davey Havok kicked me in the face!" Random Notebook Dump: Not ONCE did the crowd at the front and in the pit lose steam. My soreness, and possible bruising, is proof. Also proof of this: the glasses, shoes, and other trinkets I felt underneath my shoes.