Two Nights of The Used

Written By: Jim Markunas (Editor-In-Chief) and
Jason Coldiron (Rock/Metal Editor)


Photos By: Brett Gulbrandson

View all of Brett’s photos of The Used here.

Jim: First off… Opening bands… I’m a huge fan of Drive A; they’re punk, catchy and a great choice for an opening act. (check out our review of their debut) The Almost… Yeah, their music was really good, but did their pants have to be so fucking tight? Seriously? I haven’t seen that much blatant cock in my face since the last time my friend Paul took me to West Hollywood. I would have given The Almost an A-, but their horrid sense of fashion knocked them down to a C- or D+.

The Used were hella cool. They had what I can only describe as the cleanest and most well-organized stage set up in Rock ‘n’ Roll history. The drums were on a wide square riser that lit up, the amps were the embodiment of perfect symmetrical aesthetic, and the stage was left pretty much bare except for a few half-stacks piled on either side of the drums. The band ended up looking tiny compared to the massive/well-organized stage, but it allowed them a lot of room to move around, which Burt McKracken did with the greatest of ease. Before The Used even walked on stage, a piano intro was played through the house PA and a quick movie was projected across an arena-sized backdrop. This set the stage for one of the greatest rock shows of this month (and I’ve been to a lot of shows this month). As the band casually strolled on stage, the backdrop changed from a movie to a giant syringe with “The Used” over it. Skipping ahead a little bit, the best thing about the backdrop was that it changed graphics digitally throughout their set. Very cool!

Jason: The following night, the Used moved up the coast to play the Warfield in San Francisco. Chicks with Guns was there as well.

Getting a late start, Drive A took the stage. They were very young, but very mature and poised for their age(s). They seemed to understand their role in this show perfectly. They were there to get the crowd woken up and moving a bit, light a fire and set the stage for The Almost and The Used. The lead singer was great in interacting with the crowd. The band got things going in the right direction. Their punk sound was a perfect lead in to the rest of the sounds of the night.

The Almost was next to hit the stage. My female friend loved them. Their music didn’t really fit their look at all. They rocked though. Their set was great until the end, at which point the lead singer killed the momentum and ended it on a poor note. The last song they played was their big ballad. The song wasn’t bad at all, but it should have been played earlier in the set. The singer followed this ballad up by preaching to the audience about God and how He loves us all.

Jim: I HATE shit like that!!!!! Flyleaf can get away with this kind of thing because their singer is pretty and talented. I’m not sure I’d want to hear football player-wannabe’s with guitars wax poetically on that type of thing at all. God and politics belong at home; shows are meant for rocking… Also, Jason, were their pants any less tight when you saw them. Once again… too much cock in the face!!!!!!

Jason: It’s hard to give a definitive answer on the cock in face issue, due to the lighting in the arena. That said, it was clearly more than any reasonable fan would expect or want from their metal show. Granted, this band is his side project to the Christian rock band he is the drummer in. Granted, he said that if you aren’t down with God, that is fine, we can all still get along, etc. That wasn’t enough. It was poorly timed. Following the ballad with this just didn’t work. If he was going to insist on preaching, he should have done it between songs earlier in their set. Not to mention that it was crucial they end their set with a big, heavy song to lead into The Used. This was a poorly conceived ending to their set. Thankfully, The Used were up next and would soon make us all forget about this.

As with the previous night, the Used began with a short film with a piano intro playing. This built the tension and energy in the building to a peak and had the crowd dying for the band to hit the stage. When they finally did, it was on! The band quickly jumped into, “Blood on my Hands” from their latest record, Artwork and knocked it out of the park. They let loose for the next hour-and-a-half and blew the roof off of the Warfield.

They played a great mix of newer and older songs in their catalog. At one point they played four consecutive older songs, including “In love and death,” without stopping between them at all. This was a kind of medley of sorts. It was fantastic. The stage show was amazing. They really utilized the lighting of the arena perfectly. The lights and darks, with shadows, half lit faces and a sense of mystery and awe all worked beautifully. This was one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time. They closed the set with and encore of, “On my own,” followed by one more rocking tune to end the night. Their rendition of, “On my own” was arguably the highlight of the entire night. It brought the house down and is the single moment I’ll remember most from this show.

The Used brought it big time on this night. I was blown away. I have to admit that before this show I was a fan, but not a fanatic. After this, I’ll be buying their albums and singing their praise. They won me over in a big way.

Jim: Ok… But… What was it like to hang out with the guys back stage? Were there antics, drinking, etc.? Did you score with groupies? Did you see The Almost in their underwear (I’m assuming they wore ‘whitey-tighties?’) Inquiring minds want to know!

Jason:
Well, technically, we only met Quinn and a few random venue employees back stage. However, on the way in while we were waiting out back to get in for the interview, Bert walked by as he was talking with some of his people. Brett (my photographer, who is a HUGE Used fan) took the opportunity to say hello, shake his hand and tell him what a huge impact he had made on him. A funny thing about this is that there were a couple of hundred fans out front waiting to get in. Meanwhile, Bert and his people were casually hanging out around the side of the building where the buses were, smoking and drinking like there was no care in the world. There was hardly any security there. Any fan who had walked just 20 feet or so down the street would have seen the buses and the band and been able to walk right up to them.

If only they had known how easy it would have been…

Want More of The Used?
CWG review of Artwork
CWG Review of Loss Of Desire
View all of Brett’s photos of The Used
Rock/Metal Editor, Jason Coldiron interviews Dan of The Used
Rock/Metal Editor, Jason Coldiron interviews Quinn of The Used

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