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2019-11-04 DE – Cologne - Carlswerk Victoria

| Doors: 6.30 pm | Show: 7.30 pm | Tickets: 35.00 Euro + fees |


After I had the pleasure to see excellent shows of bands I was longing for a long time, I now somehow got back to the normal concert business. Tonight’s show offers a three-band-package and I have not seen any of them playing live so far. I came to see REFUSED. The Swedes are legends; at least they were in the past and I already had the pleasure to see Dennis Lyxzén live in action last summer with his other band INVSN. It was a wild ride. THRICE and the PETROL GIRLS I took as a bonus.

Although both bands of the co-headlining package have gained sort of a cult status I was skeptical if Punk and Post Hardcore works in such a big venue and if the bands would fill the :: Carlswerk Victoria ::. Yes, they did. Two dozen tickets (of 1600) were left at the box office. So I guess, the venue has hung the “sold out” sign on the door later in the evening. Did the show work? Well… Fans came late, and Punks were not seen at all. Instead, hipsters and students all around, and normal folks. The Punk and Hardcore shows I remember were different.
Merchandise prizing was typical for US bands: tee 30 Euro, hoodie 50 Euro. Totebag 10 Euro.

:: pics :: PETROL GIRLS ::

Touch Me Again And I'll Fucking Kill You

That there was a third band on the billing I realized only a couple of hours prior the show. I never heard of the :: PETROL GIRLS :: either. Ok, I’m not familiar with the Punk scene these days. Besides, the girls and boys ain’t around for a long time. Founded back in 2012 the Brits and Austrians have already released various EPs and singles and, most recently, their sophomore Cut & Stitch.
Half past seven, the PETROL GIRLS kicked off with The Sound, the opening track from their new album. Singer Ren Aldridge roamed the stage from one side to the other, jumped, screamed and headbanged. She seemed to have a slight cold but it was only noticeable when she talked. The sound was rather unbalanced, especially backing vocals were too low. As for that the PETROL GIRLS had the best lights of the evening ;)
Musically, the band does not play pure Punk I’d say. It is rather a Pop Punk version. Post Hardcore? Hm. Maybe. I’m also fine with Riot Grrrls music.
Anyway, the new songs are diversified with an experimental note here and there, which made a quite interesting mixture. And I liked the voice of Ren.
The band’s political attitude was clear. With passionate poignancy, Ren ranted against everything bad in the UK and the world, lyrically as well as with her speeches between the songs. She requested solidarity and support for the campaigns she and the band supports, for women rights, for the people in Rojava and others. She even needed a crib to name them all. Although the PETROL GIRLS were like a maelstrom of fury, the crowd remained lame in response.
On a side note: Two days after the show in Cologne, bassist Liepa Kuraitė announced her departure from the band at the end of the year. Bummer.

Band: Ren Aldridge (vox), Liepa Kuraitė (bass), Joe York (git), Zock Astpai (drums)

Setlist: The Sound, Slug, Monstrous, Harpy, No Love For A Nation, Survivor, Touch Me Again, Naïve

:: pics :: REFUSED ::

Now your live is fucked forever

For 17 years :: REFUSED :: were officially disbanded. They have been idols and icons, a hope for a new generation and were frantically acclaimed yet felt politically misunderstood. Dennis Lyxzén and his mates changed their minds, reunited in 2015 with Freedom and have just released the follower War Music.
A 30 minutes change-over and REFUSED got off the grid with REV001, the first single from War Music. Again we got a sharp and passionate speech against capitalism, fascism, racism, homophobia etc. and for all those who fight for their rights and freedom. The list was long on both aspects. This time, the speech was received much more attentive and enthusiastic by the crowd.
Dennis Lyxzén, of course, took center stage. Wild and energetic he romped, jumped, danced, whirled, screamed, and balanced on the speakers. He took control of the crowd right from the first second on and mastered it till the last tone. One highlight was surely The Deadly Rhythm with its Slayer-worshipping Reign In Blood part, where Dennis flipped his suspenders and put the micro into his pants on an exposed spot. He talked about being labeled as an outsider and a freak during his childhood that brought him to the Punk and Hardcore scene, where he learnt and experienced all the things he now fights for or against. He connected to the crowd to be on the same wavelength, because we were here to see REFUSED on a Monday night, stating: „Now your live is fucked forever“.
The crowd was a bit livelier and in between there was even a gentle moshpit to detect. Again, the Punk and Hardcore shows I remember have been completely different. I expected to see the crowd going wild and freaking out. Oh, and it was not an old audience. Just mention that…
REFUSED played brand new tracks as well as classics from the past, focusing on Songs To Fan The Flames Of Discontent and The Shape Of Punk To Come. Unfortunately, this comparison immediately displayed the weaknesses of the new songs. It’s no Punk anymore, neither Hardcore. Noise perhaps. Musically, REFUSED became a weak copy of itself. Live, they are still killing it!
Apropos noise. It was the very last track, the classic New Noise with its distinct guitar play and rhythm, which woke up the audience fully. Perhaps it was the only track the crowd knew.

Band: Dennis Lyxzén, David Sandström, Kristofer Stehen, Magnus Flagge

Setlist: REV001, Violent Reaction, Worms Of The Senses, Elektra, I Wanna Watch The World Burn, Rather Be Dead, Coup d'état, Malfire, The Shape Of Punk To Come, The Deadly Rhythm (Raining Blood section), Turn The Cross, Economy Of Death, New Noise

:: pics :: THRICE ::

Again, the equipment was completely changed, before :: THRICE :: took the stage. Was the light already challenging during the Refused show, THRICE did it without. Almost. At least for the first couple of tracks.
The American Post Hardcore veterans are around much longer than Refused, have released their 10th record Psalms, to celebrate their 20th anniversary.
I actually hardly knew the name. I probably have heard the one or the other songs but was not really aware of them. Did I miss anything? I don’t think so.
Anyway, now it was clear for whom the fans were here. Why? Because, it is no Hardcore or Post Hardcore either. THRICE rather play mainstream (Indie) Rock. Not bad, yet again, nothing I expected.
Since I had to leave the hall after doing my photo job and to give away my equipment, I decided to not re-enter the show in favor of my early-shift-alarm at 4.30am and the 2 hours ride back home.

Band: Dustin Kensrue, Teppei Teranishi, Eddie Breckenridge, Riley Breckenridge

Setlist: Only Us, Image Of The Invisible, Silhouette, Just Breathe, The Arsonist, Hurricane, The Artist In The Ambulance, Red Sky, Doublespeak, Black Honey, In Exile, The Window, The Earth Will Shake, Beyond The Pines

All in all, I completely had wrong expectations towards this concert evening. Wrong tags. It was not a disappointing show but fell short of my expectations. I was prepared for a wild and tumultuous show, mospits and pogo, where fans lose it and count their bruises afterwards, where sweat and condensed water drops from the ceiling and where revolutions get started. Where are the good ol’ days? REFUSED better play in clubs and the PETROL GIRLS would perfectly fit on a tour with Skunk Anansie for example.



story & pics © Dajana & Dajana Winkel • Photography