This week, I learned two bands that were important in my late teens and early 20s are reuniting. First was At the Drive-In, who did so in annoyingly modern fashion with a cryptic tweet. While the message only hinted at a reunion, Alternative Press later confirmed the tweet is no hoax and the band that spawned Sparta and The Mars Volta would be ending its 11-year silence at Coachella 2012.
Then I heard about Swedish hardcore punk band Refused, who announced — much more directly — they, too, would be reuniting for Coachella. One-time deal. One chance to do it right after never really getting to do their timeless The Shape of Punk to Come justice.
Band reunions tend to excite me. It’s nice to know that friendships — once broken or not — can survive the turmoil of a full-time band, and talented musicians perhaps do recognize that being in an influential band is something special; something very few people will ever experience. (And a lot of people want to.) Thing is, band reunions are almost commonplace today and, from my perspective, not always earned.
At the Drive-In and Refused? Earned. These bands went out on the top of their game. That’s not a bad way to go out — obviously much better than in going out past their prime — but in both cases the timing felt criminal. Refused’s The Shape of Punk to Come still hasn’t been topped in the 14 years since its release, and it still sounds like… Well, the shape of punk to come. At the Drive-In’s last album, Relationship of Command, saw the band bring all their eccentric personalities together to create a unique brand of post-hardcore that’s still a breeze to identify in a sea of like-minded bands.
There’s no one thing that makes a band reunion legit, but At the Drive-In and Refused are both deserving of the privilege. And considering they’re both going to be getting back together at Coachella, and I happen to be just up the street these days in central California, I’m really considering attending. Despite the price. How could I pass up the chance to see Refused do this?