Review: Refused @ The Sound Academy
Refused @ The Sound Academy
Review & Photos by: Steve St. Jean
Refused, the Swedish hardcore punk band originated in 1991, only to break up after a basement gig in a Virginia home in 1998. The band that saw the future of punk rock and created the pathways that every band has followed since then, never even toured their record ‘The Shape of Punk to Come’… Until now.
About 15 years later, Refused has reunited to tour the legendary record that transcended time. Toronto was graced with two shows back-to-back at The Sound Academy, where fans from across the GTA got the chance to finally witness how rad Refused really is. I had the pleasure of being at both shows, the first time I’ve ever cared to go see a band two days in a row. It had been a long time since I took myself away from the camera and literally just watched a live performance. Seeing that black curtain cover the stage was pure excitement only to have their mellow atmospheric sounds get louder and more intense which, was accompanied by a shining light revealing REFUSED from behind the curtains. Adrenaline was pumping through my veins immediately once the curtain dropped and didn’t let up till morning. I can’t believe the energy they possessed and passed to all of us awestruck fans.
Refused got straight to the point, pummeling into Worms of the Senses/Faculties of the Skull and the crowd went fucking berserk. There was some in-between song banter from front man Dennis Lyxzén speaking to how happy they are and it how it took them 20 years to get to this stage as a band. He mentioned how the first time they played in America in 1996, they were on tour with the punk band Snapcase and flew into Toronto (which was the only time they were ever in the city) so they could be smuggled across the border to play in the States. They never made it back until this tour now making it a historical moment in the existence of music.
Notable songs we’re of course “Refused Are Fucking Dead” and “The Shape of Punk to Come”, but one that stood out for me the most was “Rather Be Dead”. They absolutely destroyed this song and was my climax to pure musical hysteria. I felt as if I was being thrown into particular pockets of time, and had a flashback of myself at 17: skateboarding, drinking and destroying public property. And I realized after, not much has really changed. Okay, a little extreme with the public property bit now, but it definitely speaks to what Dennis meant when he told the crowd “It’s never too late to not change”.
Refused ended their set with pure gratification and were genuinely awestruck with the attendance on both a Sunday and a Monday night show. They couldn’t have appreciated us more. Refused were rad, are rad and will forever hold a place in music history and I’m glad that I was part of it for both nights. Dennis finished off the shows by telling the Toronto crowd to “Always remember to stay curious. Always remember to stay wild. Always remember to stay hungry… Boredom won’t get me tonight”.