Friday, June 10, 2016

Refused back to seal history, Plague Vendor prove why they're one of today's most exciting bands

Posted By on Fri, Jun 10, 2016 at 4:14 PM

THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND 
click to enlarge Refused at the Beacham - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Refused at the Beacham
Refused are one of those bands with not just legend but the kind of legend that’s bloomed considerably after the fact. Now, the Swedish hardcore expansionists are finally fully reunited, carrying some lore-fueled mystique and touring on their first new album in 17 years. That there is some momentous ammo in the chamber. Add to it the fact that the Orlando stop (June 9, The Beacham) was the finale of their U.S. tour and you know they’re gonna come out firing. And they did, shooting like a missile looking to reclaim some shit.
Part of their legacy is that their signature collision of hardcore velocity, metal jags and stadium heft has always challenged punk orthodoxy. They did it with dynamism, they did it with flair, and they blew the doors off the box. Now, that daredevil tack translates live to combustive punk intensity delivered with big rock flash. And almost all of the latter is embodied in singer Dennis Lyxzén, who dropped elastic rock-star moves...
click to enlarge Refused at the Beacham - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Refused at the Beacham
 
click to enlarge Refused at the Beacham - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Refused at the Beacham
... swung his mic around with the distance and accuracy of a fly fisherman...
click to enlarge Refused at the Beacham - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Refused at the Beacham
click to enlarge Refused at the Beacham - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Refused at the Beacham
... and did maybe the tallest Jesus walk over a crowd I’ve ever seen, seemingly floating on the audience’s fingertips.
click to enlarge Refused at the Beacham - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Refused at the Beacham
Add it all up and it was maximum.
click to enlarge The Coathangers at the Beacham - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • The Coathangers at the Beacham
Playing right before were Atlanta punks the Coathangers. No strangers to this town, they’ve been moving the most noteworthy small clubs here for many years, so it’s nice to see them get a little of the major limelight. It’s even better seeing how they’ve grown into a band that can stand outside of the willfully narrow garage-punk alley, and not just because they’re the first band I’ve ever seen use a squeak toy as a stage instrument.
click to enlarge The Coathangers at the Beacham - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • The Coathangers at the Beacham
But this party was already in full gear – no, overdrive – from the jump. And that was single-handedly because of California opener Plague Vendor. Even against all that big history on display, it was these Young Turks who probably laid the biggest claim to the future.
click to enlarge Plague Vendor at the Beacham - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Plague Vendor at the Beacham
Plague Vendor share some of the same DNA as Refused, especially between the two frontmen, a couple jaguars out to prove that a little style won’t kill hardcore.
click to enlarge Plague Vendor at the Beacham - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Plague Vendor at the Beacham
click to enlarge Plague Vendor at the Beacham - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Plague Vendor at the Beacham
Singer Brandon Blaine, who was in the crowd by the second song, delivers the full vocal free fall like one of the truly gifted ones. But he drops it between undeniable slither and swag, like a young Steven Tyler who had taken a ballsy punk detour instead of the soul-selling arc that’s resulted in the buffoonish self-parody we see today.
click to enlarge Plague Vendor at the Beacham - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Plague Vendor at the Beacham
Certainly, Plague Vendor are blessed with one of the best rising frontmen in the business. But even that’s just gravy on top of a locked-in sound that’s extraordinarily concentrated and completely thrilling. Early in their career, they’ve already struck an electric and fundamentally perfect recipe that serves up total punk fury with pure rock & roll sex.
click to enlarge Plague Vendor at the Beacham - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Plague Vendor at the Beacham
As impressively equal on stage as in the studio, their collective sonic juggernaut is a hurtling meteor, a force of ravaging intent, each song a kill shot. There’s a reason the tastemakers and scene-watchers are all talking about these guys with such unanimity and fever. They’re the real Mac, the whole package, one of the most truly exciting bands emerging right now. This time, believe the hype.
click to enlarge Plague Vendor at the Beacham - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Plague Vendor at the Beacham
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This Little Underground is Orlando Weekly's music column providing perspective, live reviews and news on the city's music scene.

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Email Bao: baolehuu@orlandoweekly.com

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