Refused + Youth Code @ Corona Theatre – 24 February 2020

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Refused in Montreal


There aren’t too many bands out there who are beloved by followers of multiple genres; certainly, though, Refused would be one of them.  The Shape Of Punk To Come, released in 1998, is adored by punks, metalheads, and indie hipsters worldwide, and when we spoke with Frontman Dennis Lyxzén a few weeks before the show, he still beams with pride when talking about it.  He’s rightfully proud of new record War Music too, the reason for their first visit to Montreal since that incendiary show at Metropolis in 2012.  A packed-out Théatre Corona is not disappointed.

After the lights go down and some crazy Rodgers and Hammerstein-esque music plays for a few minutes, the band appear and kick out the staccato distorted riff of new song Blood Red, before Dennis arrives just in time for the vocal.  The crowd is a little slow out of the blocks, with just a few nodding heads around the floor, until Worms of the Senses / Faculties of the Skull follows and suddenly ignites the pit for the rest of the night.  Dennis slams down his beret, hurls his entire mic stand a few feet in the air, and orchestrates the chaos from start to finish.  

Dennis soon declares “we are Refused from Umeå, Sweden, and we are a violent reaction to you!”  Violent Reaction duly follows, which sounds especially brutal at the breakdown as strobes explode around the stage, and the crowd surfers take flight.  Dennis then takes off roaming in the crowd as Rather Be Dead blazes out.  After a thunderous Coup d’etat, Dennis pays tribute to the people of Chile, Syria, Libya, and various other countries I couldn’t note down, and follow that up with the tremendous Malfire, a highlight of the new record, which sounds like an absolute earthquake.  The unmistakable riff of The Shape Of Punk To Come follows and then merges seamlessly into The Deadly Rhythm, the stunning metal-punk-jazz fusion which perfectly embodies the Shape record.  

Dennis throws shapes while the band grinds away, before paying tribute to the crowd: “this is a beautiful thing, you’re here as well on a Monday night!”  After Damage III and Economy of Death, he stokes the fires of the crowd once more as he announces: “We have one more song, how excited would you be if it went like this…”  With that, the iconic eerie intro riff of New Noise begins to fill the air, and you can easily tell the answer to Dennis’ question: very excited indeed.  Dennis holds out the mic to the crowd to sing the ferocious “CAN I SCREAM?!” line that detonates the song and unsurprisingly sets the pit alight.  Right after, the band takes a bow and leaves the stage, but there are some glaring omissions in the set; you know they’ll be back…

Sure enough, the band return after a few minutes, and it seems like a few in the crowd actually thought it was over.  Dennis catches them: “don’t rush out, the best is yet to come!”  He’s not far wrong either; after the brief It’s Not O.K…, yet another unmistakable riff drops in the form of Summerholidays vs. Punkroutine, which sparks another huge singalong as Dennis waltzes around the stage.  REV001 provides a dynamite conclusion to the show, sounding even more explosive live than on record, which I didn’t think was even possible.  All in all, it’s an absolutely stellar 75 minutes, from an absolutely stellar band.

Setlist

  • 1.       Blood Red
  • 2.       Worms of the Senses / Faculties of the Skull
  • 3.       Elektra
  • 4.       Death in Vännäs
  • 5.       Violent Reaction
  • 6.       Rather Be Dead
  • 7.       Coup d’état
  • 8.       Malfire
  • 9.       The Shape of Punk to Come
  • 10.   The Deadly Rhythm
  • 11.   Damaged III
  • 12.   Economy of Death
  • 13.   New Noise

Encore

  • 14.   It’s Not O.K…
  • 15.   Summerholidays vs. Punkroutine
  • 16.   REV001

Review – Simon Williams
Photos – Steve Gerrard

Support came from Youth Code
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