Monday, 13 August 2012

Refused at the Forum, Kentish Town

I’ve learnt two new things about fans of Refused: firstly they are typically more than 6ft tall and secondly, they like to be fashionably late. I may not be 6ft, but I do like to be late. Our usual pre-gig trick is to go for dinner when the support act are on, then casually stroll in when the queues have disappeared, leaving just enough time to grab a drink before the band appear on stage. Apparently most Refused fans adopt the same approach, and at 9 o’clock on a Sunday night we were queuing outside the Forum.

Anyway I’m digressing. Last night’s Refused gig was exactly what I needed to make up for Monday’s lukewarm Head Automatica show. All the odds were against us; we were late, there was no way to get to the front as the place was so packed, it was as hot as a freakin’ oven and the tallest guy in the world (who also had a mohawk) was partially blocking our view! But none of this mattered.

Refused were every bit as good as they were at Download and played exactly what we wanted to hear, namely a sizeable chunk of 1998’s The Shape of Punk to Come – the album that was released a matter of months before their split and that has contributed greatly to their posthumous success. With such an energetic performance, very little was lost from standing at the back, in fact given the venue’s tropical climate it was possibly the best place to be!

Seeing New Noise live for the second time in as many months was a privilege and there were plenty of other highlights, including Refused Are Fucking Dead, Summer Holidays Vs. Punk Routine and The Shape Of Punk To Come. The whole night was in stark contrast to the Head Automatica debacle last Monday. Both bands were performing some of their first gigs in a very long time to a crowd of devoted fans, but the difference was that Refused gave the crowd exactly what they wanted.

Front man Dennis Lyxzen is always fun to watch, he’s a powerful vocalist and hugely animated – a real juxtaposition between strangely awkward and very, very cool. At the end of the night he announced “Don’t let anybody tell you how to live your life! This isn’t a rehearsal, you only get one shot!” Sound cheesey? You’re probably right. But it was conveyed with such passion that you can’t help but love him, because he means it. All of it.

So in conclusion…  a great show and a band that always deliver. These guys are all about the music. They aren’t in it for the money or the fame, they are genuine and they believe in what they do. And you can’t ask for more than that.


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