Thursday 7 November 2019

On Stage: Refused + Thrice

After Swedish hardcore punk band Refused reunited I was able to catch them twice. However the last time was four years ago and the band released a new album War Music this year to high acclaim. The band has joined forces with Thrice for a European tour and it is about high time I watched the Swedes play again.

Refused + Thrice at Melkweg Amsterdam, November 3 2019

Another day another traffic jam. Because of bad traffic conditions we end up late at the Melkweg venue. By the time we reach the full main hall Refused have already started their set.


The band plays a ferocious and inspired set, led by the charismatic Dennis Lyxzén like we're used to. As always he's very active around stage and keeps short speeches about politics in between songs. Sometimes this takes the tempo out of the set and some people may not like it, but this is what makes Refused the group they are and why they matter. This political activism also pours into their songs where they will give their view of the world.

And, no surprise here, they don't like the world of today at all. It is exactly what makes their music so angry but also so urgent. What makes this band even more special is the way they cross borders of several genres, not restricting themselves or making any compromises. The songs of their cult classic The Shape of Punk to Come still sound just as solid as twenty years ago. Half of the setlist is from the new LP though and those songs are live just as convincing as on the record. Refused are a band that we need so hard in this world, to shake us up and keep us awake.

All Pictures

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01. REV001
02. Violent Reaction
03. Worms of the Senses / Faculties of the Skull
04. Elektra
05. I Wanna Watch the World Burn
06. Rather Be Dead
07. Coup d'état
08. Malfire
09. The Shape of Punk to Come
10. The Deadly Rhythm
11. Damaged III
12. The Infamous Left
13. New Noise


Unlike Refused, Thrice are a more mellow band, one that slowly builds up their songs instead of letting it rip. Their last LP Palm is already more than a year old and the band can rely on their routine to play a tight set. Singer Dustin Kensrue has a pleasant, warm voice that has enough body in the louder parts. Sometimes he kind of overdoes it and his voice starts to crack a bit. For the rest of the night the band plays a flawless show though, where many fans are singing along with the melodic rock songs.

The band does stays mostly on the safe side though and the show could use a bit more spice. Thrice is known for their innovative and more experimental sound and the band is always exploring new directions on their albums. This doesn't always show during the live performance though. It is quite a good show, but it kind of misses a sparkle. The band is very focused but at the same time it lacks some energy, especially compared to Refused. It may have been better to have the Swedes close this night, but it was a rocking sweet night nevertheless.

All Pictures

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01. Only Us
02. Image of the Invisible
03. Silhouette
04. Just Breathe
05. The Arsonist
06. Hurricane
07. The Artist in the Ambulance
08. Red Sky
09. Doublespeak
11. Black Honey
12. In Exile
13. The Window
14. The Earth Will Shake
15. Beyond the Pines

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