ARCO Arena was still ARCO Arena, I had braces and my friend’s mom drove us to “Taste of Chaos” last time I got to see The Used in concert.
A week before their new album Imaginary Enemy was released today (April 1), I was headed to The Warfield in San Francisco feeling apprehensive. I did not know what to expect from a band that had spanned nine years and two albums since that show in 2005.
Taking Back Sunday, a band who had been just as present during my youth, was co-headlining the show and took away most of the apprehension as their set was filled with songs I once knew every word to. Their lead singer, Adam Lazzara, thanked the sold out crowd for their undeterred enthusiasm, thanked the Australian band, Tonight Alive, that opened the show and righteously acknowledged the fact that most of the crowd was there to see The Used.
While the drunk couple bouncing around my section was spilling their drinks more than they were drinking, I could not help but feel giddy for whatever was about to happen.
Sporting a red Che Guevara-style shirt with his face on it, lead singer Bert McCracken walked out without saying a word and got right into the first single from Imaginary Enemy, “Cry.” His voice was as strong and grungy as I remember.
“I’m A Fake,” “Let It Bleed,” “All That I’ve Got” and “I Caught Fire (In Your Eyes)” were performed as if In Love and Death was just released this year. McCracken’s dance moves showed that he felt just as good as the packed house felt losing their voices throughout the night.
McCracken is weird. The type of weird that kissed my friend at Warped Tour once because he liked his mo-hawk. Also, the type of weird that hates
cliches and encourages the crowd to get off social media.
A part of the message in the new album was expressed throughout the show. McCracken rallied the crowd to start a revolution, which is reflected in the new album’s artwork and the stage set with old fashioned televisions stacked upon each other with the screens punched out to fit synchronized light bulbs. At times would light up with “The Used” spelt out.
Not much has changed in The Used’s demonstration of rebellion and self-righteous encouragement. Their newest record label GAS Union is a true demonstration of what they aim to do with their music, as the acronym stands for “Give A Shit.”
Love is still the influence and picking up the person who falls in the pit is not a suggestion.
By the end of the night, McCracken made it clear there would be no cliche encore, but if the crowd started screaming when they walked off for a break there would obviously be
With an initial hip hop groove, the final song transformed into an instrumental rendition of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” rearranged with a rendition of Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing In The Name” and culminated into the highly amped up “Take It Away.”
Sweat, smiles and blood-pumping hearts were everywhere as The Warfield cleared out that night.
The energy was as undeniable as the first song “Revolution” on the album concludes, “One of the things that you have to (know) is that this movement has acquired an air of inevitability.”
“Imaginary Enemy” is now available on TheUsed.net and The Used will continue their tour with Taking Back Sunday until the end of April.
To hear more about this and other experiences, don’t forget to listen to “CA’s Late Nite Set” Wednesdays at 9 PM only on KSSU.com!