My first experience with The Used came in 2003 at HFStival. They played the Main Stage, sharing the day with the likes of Janes’ Addiction, Finch, Audioslave, Good Charlotte and many other big name bands of that time. I can never forget the moment when vocalist Bert McCracken climbed a 20-foot speaker stack and dove into the crowd. At that point I learned that there’s a good kind of crazy and a bad kind. This was a sign of very much the good kind. I remember walking away from that set and thinking, “Holy shit that was awesome!”.
Obviously, things have toned down over the years. But nevertheless, I saw that good kind of crazy again when Bert took the stage 14 years later to play 2002s’ The Used in it’s entirety as night one of a two-night,two-album event. With the stage adorned with mannequins and seizure inducing lighting, that crazy good tone came back to me.
With the recent addition of Saosins’ Justin Shekoski on guitar after longtime guitarists Quinn Allmans departure, nothing much seemed different. The stage presence was there. The energy was there. The crowd was definitely there. Opening with “Maybe Memories” right off the bat, everyone was reminded why they were there. A lot of bands lately have been doing the whole “playing an album in it’s entirety” thing lately, but this show caught me off guard. Yea, we all knew what song was next, but the execution of each song was on point.
With Jeph Howard on bass and Bert McCracken being the only remaining original members, the addition of Dan Whitesides formerly of The New Transit Direction up until 2006 on drums and Justin Shekoski very recently of Saosin, seemed welcome and uniform. Everyone knew their responsibility to please the crowd. It is always such a joy to be able to hit with nostalgia when seeing one of your favorite bands when you were 15 still going hard.