The last time I saw The Used, it was 10 years prior on the Taste Of Chaos Tour. Riding the success of their 2004 album, In Love and Death, the band was at the top of their game with hits like “Take It Away” and “All That I’ve Got”.
Fast forward to today, and I was making a last minute trek to the Starland Ballroom to catch The Used celebrate their 15th year as a band.
I arrived at the venue just in time for the opening chords of one of my favorite bands, Every Time I Die. The Buffalo, NY hardcore band was acting as main support for the tour, and blasted through a mix of crowd favorites, along with tracks off their newest album, From Parts Unknown.
The crowd was peppered with longtime fans that screamed back every word to frontman Keith Buckley, while others were clearly anticipating the headline act. Most of the room got moving to the band’s Nirvana cover, “Tourettes”, which is also available on the bands Record Store Day release Salem.
I began to feel the energy in the room change as the stage crew began the changeover. A mountain of tube televisions (remember those?) decorated both sides of the drum riser in leu of traditionally visible guitar amps. This was a cool touch with production that gave the show a different feel. As the lights dimmed, the crowd roared as frontman Bert McCracken and company walked to center stage.
The band launched into their Self Titled album opener, “Maybe Memories” and the floor erupted in moshing and crowd surfing. In the ten years since I had last seen the band, their intensity on stage had increased tenfold, each member’s stage presence was frenetic and I could tell they were having a blast. A cool moment for me was when the band segued into a jam of the main riff from recently reunited hardcore act Refused’s “New Noise”.
The setlist was comprised of The Used’s greatest hits throughout the years, but the focus was on the old school fans, as eight of the tracks performed were from the first two albums.
McCracken’s stage banter displayed gratitude and appreciation for the audience that continues to follow the band from album to album. At one point, McCracken instructed the crowd to hold their arm in the air, and slyly wrap it around the person next to them in a loving side hug. Regardless of race, religion, sexual preference or political stance, Music is what brings everybody together.
McCracken was looking for everybody to let go and have a good time, and the crowd did just that. After 15 years as a band, I’m looking forward to where The Used can take their established sound.
If this tour has shown anything, it’s that their fan base isn’t going anywhere.