The Used have released six full length albums and helped define the emo generation. As part of their 15th year anniversary celebrations, the four piece decided to play two shows in both Leeds and London. The first night of their anniversary shows saw the quartet play their 2002 self-titled album in full, with the second night showcasing their 2004 album ‘In Love and Death’.
The band opened the night with the adrenaline charged ‘Take It Away’. Frontman Bert McCracken’s energy rubs off on to the crowd and gets the near sell-out crowd riled up in seconds. McCracken shouts “welcome to two of the most important nights of our lives” to the crowd, most of whom are already acquainted with the four piece from Utah, having attended the night before.
The night is fuelled by nostalgia, with the fans and the band themselves reliving their youth through this seminal record. The lyrics of this album are layered with deep emotional content, proving to be therapeutic for McCracken in particular. The band dedicates the albums second single ‘All That I’ve Got’ to the late David Bowie. The passion on display from the Used is easy to see, as McCracken shows signs of breaking down mid-song.
The show sees the Used debut several songs on the night, with a handful of the song’s meanings heaped with dark undertones. As the four piece drop in to ‘Listening’, McCracken calls for a circle pit as the track contains one of the liveliest drops of the night. The lighting production is relatively simple with a few strobes thrown in, with the album artwork draped at the back of the stage.
The 15th year anniversary of the Used is a special occasion for both band and fans alike, but the show is made even more memorable as the band invite a man onstage to propose to his girlfriend. It’s clear to see that the night is more than just another live show. The quartet then play through a beautiful acoustic rendition of ‘Yesterday Feelings’.
The album ‘In Love and Death’ offers a great mix of pop punk melodies and ferocious heavy riffs that pleases the crowd from start to finish. ‘Sound Effects and Overdramatics’ opens with its chaotic intro and offers up some aggressive backing vocal performances from Jeph Howard (bass) and newly appointed ‘Saosin’ founder Justin Shekoski (guitar). McCracken admits to “dreading” performing ‘Hard to Say’, but manages to make it through the song.
The crowd then shout the opening poem of ‘I’m a Fake’, after McCracken questions if they know it at all, before the four piece drop into the final song of the album. The band exit for a short while before returning as promised to “end the night on a song from another record.” The opening guitar riff of ‘Pretty Handsome Awkward’ takes over the room and allows the crowd to lose themselves with the Used for another four minutes.
The crowd were in the palm of McCracken’s hand from the off and the 15 year anniversary second album show clearly meant a lot to everyone in the room. The emotion and passion on show throughout the night from both the crowd and the band was at an all-time high and it’ll be something special to remember for a long time.
All photos by Kelly Hamilton.