REFUSED – Oslo – Sentrum Scene

REFUSED – Oslo – Sentrum Scene

"They told me that the classics never go out of style, but they do … they do.  Somehow, baby, I never thought that we do, too."

The quote, pronunced with a trendsetting Swedish-accent, kicks off the album that became the highpoint of hardcore/punk in the late 1990-ies. "The Shape of Punk To Come" (Burning Heart Records) was by some musical experts claimed to be the most important album in the history of the origin of the species, while other settled with regarding the album as a kick-ass record that made you wanna listen to nothing else for a unnatural long period of time. Eitehr way, The Refused released the album October 1998, but at all ended in tears and bitter resentment within New Years Eve only months later. Streams of makeup from the faces of emokids across the universe covered the streets and semi-political spare-time activists/hardcore fans, spent hours figuring out what happened.

At the peak of their musical agility, The Refused was fucking dead. Well, almost.

Luckily, style moves in circles. Now, 14 years later – The Refused is as stylish and amidst the buzz as one can possibly be. And so here we are on Sunday night mid-December, packed together in a sold out venue and staring into to a large stage curtain with the letters R-E-F-U-S-E-D spelled out.

The band that never, ever, not for a million dollars, was going to play a gig again – are playing a gig again. And they have been doing that for year or so now, headlining stadiums and large venues in festivals and Gods knows what, selling tickets faster than you can say "marxist revolution is coming".

But hey, I’m no hater, so I don’t complain or bitch about it. I did not get my ass to a concert way back then (like most other people here tonight), and I also do stuff I said I never, ever, was going to do again. Like this beer I’m holding in my hand right here. Further, they’re in a good company: MC5 sold pants for Levi’s, and I think The Clash also wound up in the clothing commercial business.

I do struggle, though, to see what have changed since Refused told the world to fuck off in 1998. The music business is still crap, labelling bands and music, commoditizing every cultural aspect with the slightest capitalistic potential.

But then again, who cares? The Refused put out kick-ass songs, and I voluntarily attend this gig.

Behind the stage curtain, the guys in the band straps up their gear and the audience cheer like m**herfuckers. Some of the audience cannot possibly have been around when the albums came out back in the mid-1990-ies. They would have been 6 years old or something. This means that The Refused has managed to build their fanbase while retired. That’s quite an achievement.

Blood Command (NO) was the support band for this evening, a band that has been around sine 2008. They do what they have labelled artpunk/bloodcore, whatever that means, and they have enjoyd heavy rotation on Norwegian national radio. I did manage to get to the venue in due time, so I refer you to Twitter to see objective reviews of the show in the tweets from family and fans of the band.

"Sick performance!," some guy @Tjuhu writes. Ok, then.

The Refused do their regular set, starting with The Shape of Punk to Come. The song has this nice build-up thing going, so people go nuts when the curtains fall as the chorus kick in. 


The setlist, approximately:


The Shape of Punk to Come

The 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


New Noise

Tannhäuser / Derivè


Boredom won’t get me tonight

So, they primarily do songs from the Shape-album, and I see some sour faces of the folks wanting more stuff from Songs To Fan The Flames Of Discontent. Myself being one of them.

The band hasn’t lost their skills while taking a break. They come off as coordinated and decisive, the songs keep their momentum up and the band adds weight to the riffs all the way through. The sound is actually good, where the switch between the toned-down stuff and power hardcore segments works splendid.

Lyxzen, mainman with the microphone, seems quite comfy up on the stage, really working his ass off with the Roger-Daltrey-microphone-tricks and outrageous-britsh-pop/rock-stage-antics. At some point he dives into the audience and plunges all the way to the mixer booth at the back on the venue, and gets carried by fans all the way back to the stage.

There’s even a lucky spectator managing to pull off a proper stagedive. Respect, who ever you are.

"If you know us, you know that we’re not the kind of band that shuts the fuck up" Lyxzen says. He then rants on about political stuff before announcing the next song. Strangely enough, they still flag to political/moral stuff, even after going back on the political/moral argument of quitting the band in 1998.

The setlist closes its end, and people seem nowhere ready to go home. The Refused end the set with a 40 second version of Boredom Wont Get Me Tonight, with smoke machines on full power and the brightlights on. Great way to end off the show.

"This is our second last gig ever, know that, right?" Lyxzen asks.

Yeah, we’ll see.