In a year where it seemed as though the hateful dullards of the world, especially in the USA, were puzzlingly victorious in gaining political office and influence, INVSN released a bracing antidote to all of that with The Beautiful Stories. But, as you might expect, the Swedish band followed up the album with a good deal of touring. Which one might think of as praxis seeing as the songs on The Beautiful Stories are all imbued with a humanized radical politics.
For anyone that ever saw The (International) Noise Conspiracy and The Refused, a high bar of expectation was there. Both of those bands delivered some of the most viscerally energetic live shows of their time. Singer Dennis Lyxzén seemed almost superhuman in his acrobatic stage moves and the raw forcefulness of both bands was inspiring. That Lyxzén and INC bassist/vocalist Sara Almgren are members of INVSN promised a lot alone. Fortunately, the band brought the kind of ferocity and exuberance they would need to make a larger venue show compelling and even inspiring to Larimer Lounge, a venue with a capacity of 250. Like no one told them that they’re playing a place many locals think of as a dive bar even if it isn’t—as if they would skimp and deny themselves the joy of their own music. Not a chance.
INVSN played liberally from The Beautiful Stories and balancing musicality perfectly with a flamboyant performance style, Lyxzén wrapped the mic up over a roof beam and sang from the floor, dancing with people in the audience at one point. At various other points jump spinning off the bass drum and leaning backward to the point his shoulders touched the floor while not missing a note. He was Iggy-like in his way of not only commanding the stage but in moving more energetically than most musicians half his age.
Theatrics aside, Lyxzén engaged the audience with words acknowledging the perilous state of things in American and international politics. There was no empty bravado. There was an admission of the level of despair that anyone with any sensitivity and cognizance of the situation must feel. But there was plenty of humor too that had little to do with the rise of fascism. The fog the band used throughout the show swirled in the wind of the air conditioner and Lyxzén observed that it made it “feel like we’re in a Whitesnake video the whole time.” It was a nice reminder that a state of constant outrage is exhausting and so is anticipating the next wave of shit coming down the pike from various sources. INVSN’s show embodied a sense of hope and humanity in a time of acute crisis and a hint that it is that route that will help give us the will and heart to turn back that tide even if many great struggles lay ahead.