in short: seriously, holy holy holy fucking shit.
in long form: the thing to really and truly note about this run of shows is that unlike a lot of "reunion shows", where bands well on in their years try to specifically recreate what once was, we have a band that is in a truly unique situation; they were trying to finally realize what never was. when shape of punk came out, it was an album that was simply not particularly well received, it was challenging and different from their contemporary and didn't really find a home. they were attempting to sell a grand statement to an audience not ready for it, and maybe as a band with a struggling lineup, they had an album they arguably weren't even ready to actually play. anyone who's ever tried to play a backing track in a new jersey basement with a shitty crate PA knows that never ever ever
works (crunk core bands: FUCK YOU, BREAK UP) (except tower of gopal, that shit is brilliant).
but all these years later, everyone had their reservations. the band, the audience, the critics, the scalpers. but what was delivered to us was a band, "reunited", that is the best version of that band that ever existed. hands down. and good goddamned they fucking KNEW IT too. expertly practiced, flawlessly presented, ambitious and daring, and feeding rabidly off everyones sweat in the room into an outright fucking tornado of bravado and confidence and total FURY. thats what made these shows special, we were seeing what they spent YEARS dreaming about, in a place they dreamed about playing, you could see it in their faces as they played. this was a milestone finally realized.
all that being said, i drove in from boston specifically for these shows and to do some art related happenings (if you're still in brooklyn, stop by the Cotton Candy Machine) as a little vacation away from, well, everything. i went with exclusively OLD friends, people i knew from that era, people i've been in bands with, high school friends who accompanied me through the discovery of punk rock in the first place. for both terminal 5 shows i was right up against the barricade, squeezed of all but a faint breathe and just floored at how perfect everything around me was. the bonus of not drinking is that you don't give ANY kind of fucks about $8 beers, so it doesn't ruin your evening. turning around and seeing the vaguely thunderdome-esque venue, on the same page (except Cerebral Ballzy, i have NO idea what page they were on), and cobwebs coming off a lot of kids who thought maybe this would be a huge disappointment like everything in the lives of your average 30 year old seems to be; it was something special.
so bruised and battered we left and took the train back to brooklyn, glowing, but the glow slowly transforming into the realization that my ankles arent what they used to be and my 2012 neck is unfamiliar with this "whipping hair back and forth" thing. despite rumors, constantly unfounded about a "secret show", we all decide to call it a night. then the previously mentioned Tym sends me a text. "its happening." so my friend and i run out the door, booking it full tilt the entire way through back streets of brooklyn to the venue, as fast as our feet will take us, nearly hopping over a literal train that blocked our path to trim off some time. me, in my infinite wisdom, chugging a bottle of coke the whole time because fuck you dad
, thats why. people were there. the line grew, more and more taxis arrived, people nervously walked past everyone up front, knowing the farther they walked the less likely they were getting anywhere near the door.
and then we were inside. dennis said that the terminal 5 shows were our gift to him, and that this show was his gift to us. briefly holding my cellphone camera like a goddamned asshole, i realized "what the fuck am i doing?", threw it in my pocket, shoved my hat into my pants for fear of losing my favorite hat, saluted my friends behind me and tore myself to the front, up and off the stage to get things going with a solid leap. and off we went. as always, it wouldnt be a real
punk show if there wasnt a problem with a makeshift PA. outside i hugged Dennis, telling him thank you for an amazing two days and that i was so happy for him*.
full disclosure: in 2000 i bought an X belt from Dennis. i still wear it today, it is my favorite belt. this transaction did not bias my review of the Refused reunion shows.