Review by Jo Lloyd and photos by Mark Lloyd
With fifteen years under their belts and a whole three years since their last UK headline tour, it wasn’t surprising that Birmingham’s O2 Academy 2 was rammed to welcome back Utah party animals The Used.
Kicking off proceedings with their overwhelming charisma was Bath quintet Decade. Performing tracks off their debut album Good Luck they immediately had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hands. A quintessentially British, pop punk band, they appeared down to earth and humbled by the crowd’s reaction and professionally dealt with a couple of technical issues that luckily didn’t detract anything from their performance.
Next up were melodic hardcore five piece Landscapes hailing from Somerset. With an abundance of energy, frontman Shaun Milton prowled up and down the stage, even jumping down into the pit to get amongst the crowd on more than one occasion. Unfortunately for me there was something missing in this set as it felt a little flat, and there didn’t seem to be much of a connection with the audience. There’s no doubt that they are all able musicians, but they just weren’t for me.
Finally came the time where The Used made their appearance and frontman Bert McCracken bounded onto the stage to belt out opening track ‘Cry’ from last years Imaginary Enemy release. From the moment he hit the stage there was no stopping him or the crowd, and there was not a single instant where people had both feet on the ground. From that minute, the set flew as the crowd were treated to classic after classic including ‘Bird And The Worm’, ‘The Taste Of Ink’ and ‘Pretty Handsome Awkward’. I was instantly reminded why I fell in love with this band all those years ago and each song still sounded as fresh and relevant now as it did back then which just goes to show how they can still appeal to such a mixed age group.
Bert still has the ability to shock and entertain with his lewd jokes and spitting water over the front of the crowd, yet his charm and charisma wins everyone over as he makes every single member of the audience feel special. He even seemed like a bashful teenager as the electric atmosphere in the packed out room increased and he thanked everyone present for letting him continue his love affair with music.
It was a triumphant show and even the lack of guitarist Quinn Allman, on a temporary break from the band, didn’t take anything away from the band as Saosin’s guitarist Justin Shekoski ably stepped into the breach.
Topped off with an incredible rendition ‘Box Full Of Sharp Objects’ with a mash up of Rage Against The Machine and a bit of Nirvana chucked in, The Used quite frankly still have the ability to blow your mind and I sincerely hope that they don’t leave it so long next time!