The Used - 02 Academy, Leeds (20th February 2016) - LIVE REVIEW

The Used – 02 Academy, Leeds (20th February 2016) – LIVE REVIEW

This Used article was written by Aimee Robinson, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Ben Kendall. Header image by Ed Fielding.

The mood in the room is one of excitement and nostalgia, a theme that will continue for the rest of the evening, as fans eagerly await for The Used to take to the stage. It is the first stop on their 15 year reunion tour, which will see the band play two UK venues as part of a two-night performance. This evening will see the band play their first, self-titled album, before returning again the following evening to play ‘In Love and Death’.

The band’s on stage presence is preceded by the call of sirens, as a cheer spreads throughout the crowd, before the band erupt on stage into their first song, ‘Maybe Memories’. A chaotic anthem with rising crescendos of lawless screams, which fold into angst ridden vocals. The audience, made up heavily of long-time fans of The Used, are here to show their support and relive their teenage years – a point that lead singer, Bert McCracken, can’t thank them for enough.

The band flow straight into ‘Taste of Ink’, a more upbeat number, which is met with an enthusiastic cheer. As the lights dim, the band’s silhouette stands out against the backdrop, the cover artwork of their first album. “This song is about a time that you felt totally in love with someone you hated,” the frontman explains to the crowd, before the guitar heavy intro of ‘Buried Myself Alive’- a track which boasts lyrics: “if you want me back, you’re gonna have to ask nicer than that.”

While nostalgia is a clear theme of the night, Bert also looks to the future of his fans, saying,“I’m telling you that if I didn’t have the courage to dream, and face my dreams head on, then I would not be here today. So maybe that’s a little inspiration for you.” On stage, Bert is as energetic and enthusiastic as he was 15 years ago when the band first exploded onto the scene. From heavy hitting anthems, to slower acoustic numbers, the crowd sing along in unison without missing a beat, stirring up the quirky frontman’s gratitude and obvious passion for what he does.

Music is more powerful than religion, and more powerful than politics,” he says. “If anything can change the world, it’s music.”

One of the most exciting points of the evening, especially for more seasoned fans, is the live performances of lesser known tracks such as ‘Greener with the Scenery’ and ‘Noise and Kisses’, songs that often aren’t performed live, if ever.

After an evening of dancing and thrashing, the mood in the room does a 180, as Bert introduces the penultimate song. “If you haven’t taken the time tonight to feel the true emotion of the first record, now is your chance. This next song is about being on your own.” ‘On My Own’ is an acoustic number, rumoured amongst fans to be reflective of the death of the singer’s girlfriend at the time of writing. It seems a fitting way to end the evening, as the hushed singing throughout the room seems reflective of those who, too, have related to the song’s raw emotion.

The evening has truly been one of excitement, a trip down memory lane for all who were involved, but also one laced with inspirational quotes and a feeling of positivity – if this small band from Utah can succeed, and continue to succeed, then why can’t anyone else?

However, just when it all seems to be over, in true Used style, they crash back onstage to perform an encore of ‘Choke Me’, a heavier track emblazed with expletives and thrashy guitars. As the lights in the room go on, and the crowd begins to filter out, the noise level of chatter amongst fans increases. Old friends have bonded, old times remembered. New friends and new memories made.

And for a moment in time, we were all 15 again.

Photo by Ed Fielding.