Reviews

Refused + Death Grips: 12 April 2012 – Pomona, CA

Refused built tension while the audience anxiously awaited this reunion -- that many did not expect to ever experience.

Death Grips

Refused + Death Grips

City: Pomona, CA
Venue: Glass House
Date: 2012-04-12

The last time Swedish hardcore innovators Refused played a show prior to their sudden breakup in 1998 was in a Virginia basement to about 50 people. Since then, the band has taken on a growing number of fans and is currently in the midst of an unexpected reunion tour. Their first show back on American soil was played to a sold-out crowd at Pomona, California’s Glass House on April 12th, with experimental hip hop group Death Grips as support.

With an ominous looping background track leading up to the start of their set, Refused built tension while the audience anxiously awaited this reunion -- that many did not expect to ever experience. Dressed in an all-black dress shirt and jacket, frontman Dennis Lyxzén casually walked out to deliver the first lines of “The Shape of Punk to Come” to a roaring crowd as the rest of the band’s original lineup joined him on stage. Not much time was spared before Lyxzén was seemingly getting comfortable in his surroundings, taking full control of the stage and delivering high kicks at any opportunity he could find. For a band that has been disbanded for fourteen years, there seems to have been a lot of pent up raw energy that added to the intensity of the performance.

As expected, the energy of the audience never seemed to slow down. Crowd-surfing and stagediving picked up during songs like “Rather Be Dead” and “Circle Pit,” the latter being accompanied by a shout out from Lyxzén to all the hardcore fans in the audience. Aside from those tracks, the band stuck mostly to playing material from The Shape of Punk to Come, which remains to be their most successful and critically-acclaimed album. During the encore of “Tannhäuser / Derivè”, Lyxzén diverged into a speech about staying curious and wild in life, before closing out the song and show with the lyrics, “Boredom won’t get me tonight”. That thought must have echoed throughout the audience in the 800-capacity venue, which did not seem lacking in energy at any point of the night.

Opening up the show were Death Grips, who have been picking up a fair amount of buzz for taking hip hop in a much darker direction, resulting in a unique hard-hitting sound which is a much-welcomed change of pace. Comprised of producer Flatlander, drummer Zach Hill and MC Ride on vocals, the trio delivers their take on a genre that has not seen much innovation in recent years.

Hill consistently dished out an intense drum assault which perfectly accompanied Flatlander’s frantic and experimental beats. Ride’s look could be perceived as intimidating as his growling, brutal vocals themselves. He took to the stage shirtless, showing off unique and cryptic tattoos most notably highlighted by the large pentagram on his chest. The aggressive vocal delivery is a perfect match for the underlying electronic, at times eerie, sounds laid out by Flatlander.

The combination is a perfect match for delivering the mysterious and menacing mood the groups seems to be going for. Starting their set off with “Lost Boys”, they then ripped into tracks such as “Guillotine,” “The Fever (Aye Aye)” and “Get Got”. Their momentum never seemed to falter throughout the energetic 45-minute set, and it seems as if that energy will keep on going with a summer tour and two albums scheduled for release this year alone.

View a larger gallery of high res images over at PopMatters' Facebook page!

Music


Books


Film


Television


Recent
Reading Pandemics

Colonial Pandemics and Indigenous Futurism in Louise Erdrich and Gerald Vizenor

From a non-Native perspective, COVID-19 may be experienced as an unexpected and unprecedented catastrophe. Yet from a Native perspective, this current catastrophe links to a longer history that is synonymous with European colonization.

Film

The 10 Best Films of Sir Alan Parker

Here are 10 reasons to mourn the passing of one of England's most interesting directors, Sir Alan Parker.

Music

July Talk Transform on 'Pray for It'

On Pray for It, Canadian alt-poppers July Talk show they understand the complex dualities that make up our lives.

Music

With 'Articulation' Rival Consoles Goes Back to the Drawing Board

London producer Rival Consoles uses unorthodox approaches on his latest record, Articulation, resulting in a stunning, beautiful collection.

Film

Paranoia Goes Viral in 'She Dies Tomorrow'

Amy Seimetz's thriller, She Dies Tomorrow, is visually dazzling and pulsating with menace -- until the color fades.

Music

MetalMatters: July 2020 - Back on Track

In a busy and exciting month for metal, Boris arrive in rejuvenated fashion, Imperial Triumphant continue to impress with their forward-thinking black metal, and death metal masters Defeated Sanity and Lantern return with a vengeance.

Books

Isabel Wilkerson's 'Caste' Reveals the Other Kind of American Exceptionalism

By comparing the American race-based class system to that of India and Nazi Germany, Isabel Wilkerson makes us see a familiar evil in a different light with her latest work, Caste.

Film

Anna Kerrigan Prioritizes Substance Over Style in 'Cowboys'

Anna Kerrigan talks with PopMatters about her latest film, Cowboys, which deviates from the common "issues style" approach to LGBTQ characters.

Music

John Fusco and the X-Road Riders Get Funky with "It Takes a Man" (premiere + interview)

Screenwriter and musician John Fusco pens a soulful anti-street fighting man song, "It Takes a Man". "As a trained fighter, one of the greatest lessons I have ever learned is to walk away from a fight without letting ego get the best of you."

Books

'Run-Out Groove' Shows the Dark Side of Capitol Records

Music promoter Dave Morrell's memoir, Run Out Groove, recalls the underbelly of the mainstream music industry.

Film

It's a Helluva of a World in Alain Corneau's 'Série Noire'

Alain Corneau's Série Noire is like a documentary of squalid desperation, albeit a slightly heightened and sardonic one.

Music

The 15 Best Americana Albums of 2015

From the old guard reaffirming its status to upstarts asserting their prowess, personal tales voiced by true artists connected on an emotional level in the best Americana music of 2015.

Music

Dizzy's Katie Munshaw Keeps Home Fires Burning with 'The Sun and Her Scorch'

In a world turned upside down, it might be the perfect time to take a new album spin with Canadian dream-pop band Dizzy and lead singer-songwriter Katie Munshaw, who supplies enough emotional electricity to jump-start a broken heart.

Music

Nkem Njoku and Ozzobia Brothers Bring Summery Highlife to 'Ozobia Special'

Summery synths bring highlife of the 1980s on a reissue of Nkem Njoku and Ozzobia Brothers' innovative Ozobia Special.

Music

'The Upward Spiral' Is Nicolas Bougaïeff's Layered and Unique Approach to Techno

On his debut album for Mute, Berlin-based producer Nicolas Bougaïeff applies meticulous care and a deft, trained ear to each track, and the results are marvelous.

Music

How BTS Always Leave You Wanting More

K-pop boy band BTS are masterful at creating a separation between their public personas and their private lives. This mythology leaves a void that fans willingly fill.

Music

The Psychedelic Furs' 'Made of Rain' Is Their First Album in Nearly 30 Years

The first album in three decades from the Psychedelic Furs beats expectations just one track in with "The Boy That Invented Rock and Roll".

Music

Fontaines D.C. Abandon the Familiar on 'A Hero's Death'

Fontaines D.C.'s A Hero's Death is the follow-up to the acclaimed Dogrel, and it features some of their best work -- alongside some of their most generic.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.