For those that don’t know, Refused was a Swedish hardcore band in the 90s. They put out 3 albums, with two on Burning Heart and one on Victory. So they were a pretty big deal. Especially their final album, The Shape of Punk to Come, which received critical acclaim and was even voted #13 in the top 50 most influential albums of all time by Kerrang! magazine.
Beyond the music, their lyrics focused on liberalism and anti-capitalism, packaged in a way that paid homage to bands like The Nation of Ulysses and Born Against. The lyrics and message were a big part of who they were and how people related to them.
I didn’t get to see them live (I did see International Noise Conspiracy, the band that came after Refused), so when I heard they reformed recently and were going to tour North America, I was super psyched.
Unfortunately, I am not going. Why, you ask? The tickets for the Toronto show (closest location to Buffalo, NY) were $38 ($45 after “convenience” fees)… can you say, what?!?
So much for anti-capitalism, huh? I even checked the other venues that offered pre-sale and the others were maybe $5 or $10 cheaper, if at all. So still really, really expensive.
Since a ton of bands from the 1990s hardcore scene seem to be reuniting these days, I even checked out tickets for other reunions. Much more reasonable — for example: At the Drive-In tickets in their home state of Texas were only $20. And I’d argue At the Drive-In were much more popular than Refused.
I’d pay $20 for Refused tickets. Totally fair and reasonable. That still seems expensive compared to the prices you’d pay to see these bands back in the day ($10 or less in most cases), but I can understand those kind of prices for a reunion.
So are they sell outs? Hypocrites? I’d say hell yes.
Does it matter in the end? I guess not, but it does mean something. That time in my life is important to me. It made me who I am today. I kind of feel like not being disappointed cheapens those experiences.
What say you?