Toronto: September 13, 2017// No matter how terrible things may seem, music has the potential to make everything feel better. Those of us feeling disillusioned by the current state of the world received a massive dose of optimism last night at the Bovine Sex Club.
Swedish post-punk and left-wing firebrands INVSN are currently touring to support their latest album, The Beautiful Stories. The band was originally scheduled to play at Velvet Underground, but at the last minute the show was moved down the street to the Bovine. A smaller venue, yes, but it was the perfect setting for INVSN to spread their message of solidarity in smashing the system.
Opening band Peeling are from Toronto; their second EP, 7 Years of Blood, was released in May from Buzz Records. They were energetic and fun to watch and their sound, a raucous mix of garage punk and noisy rock, was a good entrée for INVSN’s main course.
As Peeling broke down their gear and packed it away, the size of the crowd began to grow. There was little doubt that fans of Refused and The (International) Noise Conspiracy were present; after all, INVSN’s energetic front man Dennis Lyxzén’s tenure in both bands is the stuff of punk legend.
This is not to dismiss the rest of the members of INVSN, all of whom have sterling bona fides: bassist and vocalist Sara Almgren hails from Masshysteri and was also in T(I)NC; vocalist and keyboard player Christina Karlsson is from Tiger Forest Cat; guitarist Anders Stenberg is also a member of Deportees and has played with Lykki Li; while drummer André Sandström was in DS-13.
Soon the Bovine was packed and anticipation crackled in the air. From the opening strains of “Love is Like a Drug,” it was obvious that we were in for an incredible set. If you thought that the songs on The Beautiful Stories were powerful, hearing them in a live setting made them absolutely potent. Lyxzén was unreal: dancing, jumping, kicking, twirling, and wielding his microphone like a whip, all while never missing a breath or a beat. He leapt over the metal guard at the front of the stage, catapulted himself onto the bar, then into the crowd, only to fly back onto the stage over the guard with unbelievable grace. At one point he did a half-somersault over the metal guard like a practiced gymnast.
The rest of the band were no slouches on the stage, either: Almgren and Karlsson’s vocal harmonies helped create a massive sonic wave, while drummer Sandström kept a brutal beat going. Sternberg’s jangly guitars were a beautiful counterpoint to the thunderous bass of Almgren, who is without a doubt, my new rock heroine.
Performing songs from The Beautiful Stories, the “Immer Zu” B-side “Valentine’s Day,” as well as previous INVSN releases, they even treated us to their latest single, a stunning cover of Lana Del Rey’s “Love.” All this musical splendor was only heightened by Lyxzén’s continued calls for counteracting hate and of course, crushing the patriarchy. When Karlsson and Almgren took lead on vocals, he stood to the side to let them have their turns in the spotlight.
It was one of the most inspiring and invigorating concerts I’ve ever seen. Do not miss INVSN on this tour or you will regret it.
9-15-17 Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen
9-16-17 Minneapolis, MN @ Skyway Theater
9-18-17 Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
9-20-17 Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
9-21-17 San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
9-22-17 Echo Park, CA @ The Echo
9-23-17 Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory – Constellation Room
9-24-17 San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
9-26-17 Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
9-27-27 Seattle, WA @ Barboza
9-28-17 Vancouver, BC @ The Cobalt