Show Review: Refused @ The Mohawk (6/5)
Photo Ed Notes: I would like to welcome Nick Radcliffe to the family. He is damn good photog and knows how to use a keyboard, too (click that link to his site, the landscapes might be my faves). Nick was college roomies with Mike, the other half of the adventure that is Austin Town Hall Records. We’ve talked plenty about getting him shooting for us as the new day job has me quite occupied. The Coathangers rule, we keep our eyes on Residual Kid, Plague Vendor is new to us in the live setting and Refused are a thing. So on to Nick’s first pics post and review. -bgray
The Mohawk is easily one of the best music venues in Austin, so it’s only fitting that one of the best concert line-ups of late converts the venue in to a temple dedicated to the shape of punk to come.
Click through for pics and more on the bands and jams…
Residual Kid opened the evening with reverb-ladden vocals and fuzzed out guitars reminiscent of your favorite shoegaze bands. The average age of the band is somewhere around 17, yet they sound like they’ve been playing for that long.
The second band to take the stage was Plague Vendor, a band whose name conjures a far more sinister image and sound. Frontman, Brandon Blaine, howls and sneers through each song while slithering from one side of the stage to the next before climbing the venue rafters midway through the set. Songs like crowd favorite, “Black Sap Scripture,” swell with post-punk sounds and a hint of anticipation you never quite want to end. Definitely a must-see band if you ever get the chance.
Next up were Southern punk belles, The Coathangers, hailing from Atlanta, Georgia. Blending hooky riffs and lyrics with a punk attitude transports you back to the days of The Ramones. What makes seeing the Coathangers so fun is seeing how much fun the whole band appears to be having while playing almost as if we’re more of a fly on the wall and we just happened to catch them at a band practice.
Refused was the fourth and final act of the night. The crowd nervously waited while sounds of static droned over anxious conversation until the hardcore legends assaulted the stage in a sonic fury opening with fan favorite, “Elektra” off of their newest album Freedom before launching in to other post-hardcore staples like “Refused Party Program.” The majority of the pit at the Mohawk was whipped in to chaotic worship service. I’m not sure that it’s possible for Refused to play with any more dedication than they did through each song of revolution. At the risk of beating a reference to death, Refused plays at an 11 from the very beginning of their set to the very end. However, there were some breaks throughout the night. Known for being political in their lyrics, it came as no surprise when vocalist, Dennis Lyxzen, would pause between every 3 or 4 songs to express his disgust with Trump, the need for a more progressive society, and the dismantling of patriarchal systems. Each speech made was met with overwhelming cheers from the punk crowd. No speech was met with more cheers than when Lyxzen thanked the crowd and expressed his appreciation for the community before trailing off in to the staccato guitar of the anthem that captured the very essence of the shape of punk to come, “New Noise.” It’s a song that asks a very important question, one that we sometimes ask ourselves: “Can I scream?” And the answer is always the same and it will be for Refused. The answer is “Yeah.” Refused are welcome to scream any time in Austin, Texas.