Story and photos by Karen BondowskiThe Used create a sound found somewhere between Purgatory and Hell. The deep, dark emotionally driven vocals, along with the heavy heart stopping rhythm section leaves you in a strange, yet welcome state of mind. The colossal beats find you grooving like a zombie on Ritlin. We're taken in by the love and tragedy that Bert McCracken's lyrics are built upon. The band had to overcome homelessness, drug abuse and the conservative attitudes of their hometown of Orem, Utah to scratch and claw for success. Their music appears to be their salvation.
Bert is quite a character, unshaven and sweat-drenched; he roams the stage like a hungry predator. Stopping only for his ear-splitting and heart-pounding roars.
Opening the set with a violent version of "Take it Away" Bert and the band exploded onto the stage like a Fourth of July fireworks finale. Jeph Howard played his heavy bass lines close to the edge while Quinn Allman mixed it up with his hard-edged and abrupt chord changes. Branden Steineckert beat the skins so hard that it was surprising he was able to keep such good time and Bert, of course, was just happy to be living and singing for the moment.
Slowing things down for a few minutes, they performed "On my Own" which had the fans holding their lighters high up to the ceiling and swaying back and forth. No cliche here, it just felt right. Quinn was able to take a break during this slow melody as he played his heart out in the previous songs and Bert was able to catch his breath. For a little while he sang softer and quieter, but then after gaining his energy he was again able to scream his lungs out. Emptying every last, hot breath onto the eager faces in the front rows.
Playing "Blue and Yellow" was another semi-mellow tune that had Bert leaning over into the crowd and leading the chorus. As well as standing eye -to- eye with Branden who was still smiling and keeping his rhythm, Bert would raise his mic straight up in the air and do his little dance. Swinging his hips to the beat of his bandmembers musical journey. Another classic played was "A Box of Sharp Objects" which led the band as well as the crowd into a fury as Bert wailed away and Jeph slapped his thick bass chords and flailed around the stage.
The Used also ripped-the-wings-off-the-angel on "All That I've Got," "Lunancy Fringe," "I'm a Fake" and "I Caught Fire."
As the sold-out fans at the Rave screamed for more - the Used came back on stage to do their encore. They couldn't just leave their adoring fans hanging there now could they? They took everyone on their last fun-filled ride with a high-octane version of "Maybe Memories." It was the perfect song to end their already impeccable set.
The Used really don't give a shit and that's the fuel that makes their music so good. They just get up there without thinking and do what comes natural without ever looking back. It's definitely a show you don't want to pass up.
Opening band Atreyu
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