Refused with OFF! at the House of Blues in Boston, Massachusetts on Friday, July 20, 2012.
Two separate generations of punk rock collided tonight, with both flavors totally hitting their respective spots. Refused somewhat controversially broke their ‘never reform’ vow (Refused are no longer fucking dead) and got back together fourteen years later for a tour that kicked off with Coachella as the first major test of the reformation. Meanwhile, OFF!’s been chewing audiences up and spitting them out since Keith Morris got the band off the ground in the ashes of a Circle Jerks recording session, with blistering punk rock (not hardcore) racing up to you, spitting in your face, and dashing off before you know what hit you.
Morris and company know exactly what they want to deliver, and hit all the specifications. Guitarist Dmitri Coats brings punishing downstroke riff attacks as über-drummer Mario Rubalcaba and Steve McDonald stoke the fires of the engine room until the walls glow red. Whether it’s paying tribute to the ghost of Jeffrey Lee Pierce (pissing down from the balcony, as Morris envisioned it tonight) or laying down a spiel of his punk rock beginnings (“Peace In Hermosa”) , the band was an efficient killing machine. Brav-fucking-o.
And what is it about Swedish bands that rock the fuck out? The Hives, Hellacopters, Sahara Hotnights, etc) all bring an immense and primal energy to the stage and Refused are no different. Tonight would find lead singer Dennis Lyxzén up in the air almost as much as on the stage, with the band behind him churning out the soundtrack to a maelstrom. They know their past, giving specific props to Boston bands SSD and Gang Green, and along with post-hardcore bands like Nation Of Ulysses they helped out map out the landscape of the 90s.