Refused @ Europa in Greenpoint
Soaked from head to toe, I walked out of Refused/Off! last night at Europa (7/18, brought to you by Scenic) with a smile on my face. Unlike their recent Terminal 5 shows, the Swedish band's last minute Europa appearance was a wild and overheated affair, more of what a hardcore show should be.
After the cancellation of the much larger Waterfront show due to rain, I knew to arrive early to Europa, so I got there around 7:45. The line was already stretched more than two blocks long, filled with many people who had paid to see the bands at the much larger Williamsburg Waterfront. The Europa show was first come, first served, free and all ages (Waterfront tickets are being refunded), and the venue only let in roughly 500 folks. They went down the line giving out tickets, and those who didnt get a ticket walked up and down the line looking to buy one ("I'll pay $100 for a ticket"). There were a lot of those people. The nearby police station seemed to empty on to the street, with cops standing on the corners surveying the crowd.
The doors opened around 8:30 and people started rolling in to the Greenpoint club. Hot as hell in there. Sweating. A lot.
After a long wait, OFF! played their set to a mostly cross-armed crowd with a few newbie-mosh-types attempting to start a pit. They ended up just bouncing off of each other while the borderline-comatose crowd looked on. It wouldnt be until Refused got on stage that the real mayhem started. More sweating.
After waiting in the venue for what seemed like an eternity (now, dripping), Dennis from Refused made his way to the front to start the set. The crowd got tighter around the stage. By the time the band started, the front was either moving in a wave-like motion, avoiding the mosh pit, or looking out for stagedivers. The band's set seemed similar or identical to their previous outings but with one very notable exception: John Joseph (of the Cro-Mags) arrived on the scene late in their set to perform Bad Brains' "Attitude" and Cro-Mags' "We Gotta Know". This was my highlight for sure, especially in light of the recent violence and the PMA message of the Bad Brains classic. You might remember that at Terminal 5 it was Lou from Sick of It All who came up and performed with Refused (and Sick of it All was also supposed to perform at the recent Webster Hall show that ended early). Not my favorite band, but a solid set from the Swedes. Though the prize of the night goes to the insane audience.
Oh, and during their set, Refused strangely made an onstage proclamation about their past and "still" status as a revolutionary band. Considering their anti-capitalist stances in the past, I think that is a bit more than over-reaching (I disagree entirely). They should probably avoid saying that entirely.
Nevertheless, I also think that Refused's big moment, which passed many years ago, deserves to be celebrated to the fullest. At Europa last night (their 2nd small Brooklyn show this year) show this year), it most certainly was. It was just a bummer that so many that had planned to see the band at Williamsburg Waterfront, not to mention Philly tonight, were left out.
Refused played Jimmy Fallon earlier that day. Video of "New Noise" and "The Shape of Punk to Come" from that appearance, along with pictures from Europa are below.
Refused _ The Shape of Punk To Come
Refused - New Noise