With a career spanning fifteen years, six studio albums under their belts and three years since their last headline tour in the UK, there was an infinitely excited crowd amassing outside of the O2 Academy of Birmingham within the early hours to ensure they got a place right at the front for this show; I wasn’t entirely sure why at first with so much time passing and The Used virtually disappearing off the face of the Earth… But by eleven o clock I knew exactly why.
First up are pop-punk mob Decade, an unlikely support act but one that take the stage with all the charisma needed to grip the crowd in the palm of their hands and even get the most reluctant of the audience to dance along to their sunny anthems. Performing tracks off debut album Good Luck, they bring an interesting blend of angsty and thoroughly British lyrics and vocals with sunny guitars with dark and looming bass lines and blasting drums that hail to their punk influences. Despite some equipment troubles, the band remain fun and seem genuinely humbled by the reaction they receive, adding to their likability and leaving the audience on a high.
Landscapes completely change the mood of the whole venue from optimistic and sunny to dramatic and brooding with a chiaroscuro lighting and ear-shattering feedback as an introduction before band members are storming and screaming through the crowd, jumping up and down like springs, relaying motivational speeches in a gruff and demanding way, and just in general creating a forceful and energising atmosphere through their dark and heavy music with melodic and spine-tingling interludes.
The minute The Used take to the stage the party really begins. Through both new singles such as Cry and Revolution to classics such as Pretty Handsome Awkward, The Bird and The Worm and The Taste of Ink The Used show why people fell in love with them fifteen years ago and still do. They still have the ability to shock and inspire with vocalist Bert McCracken telling lewd and inappropriate stories, spitting water all over the crowd, and moving in a way that seems almost inhuman; despite this, they promote positivity, loving oneself and make every single fan feel special and involved, specifically a 14 year old fan called Beth whom they got up on stage, hugged and allowed to join in singing a song she loved. What could make this set better? A mash up of Rage Against The Machine, Nirvana and Box Full of Sharp Objects of course, one thing you cannot deny, The Used really do know how to put on a show that will blow your mind.
Leaving the stage on the promise of returning once more in the very near future, this is a promise I hope and pray is kept as this is one show I thoroughly did not want to end. It kept me fully engaged and excited to hear what would happen next and displayed a wide array of talent, styles and emotions with one thing in common: a shared love and appreciation for music and sharing the messages behind it.