LIVE: The Used @ O2 Academy, Leeds (21/02/2016)
February 22nd, 2016
Let’s be honest here, though they’re still running a steady career with an uninterrupted output of records, Utah’s The Used have riden out their peak days, bursting through the doors of the emo years in the mid-00s and dwindling over the years to follow along with the genre, MySpace, guyliner and striped fingerless gloves. What better way to celebrate than reliving their first two albums in full across two nights. We harked back with them at their second date in Leeds, playing out their most commercially successful record to date, ‘In Love And Death’.
Coming in as the only support band for these special shows, The New Regime  aren’t regular visitors to the UK, though frontman Ilan Rubin was briefly the drummer for Lostprophets. Though he has an impressive resume of bands he’s worked with and drummed for (Nine Inch Nails, Paramore, Angels & Airwaves, etc.), Rubin is all about the voice and guitar with this project, and though clearly talented, it’s all very Wolfmother-esque but with less of a punch to the gut. Sadly, he also goes off on a huge riff and solo show-off in the band’s final minutes – about 5 actually, and most attention garnered is thwarted away.
The O2 Academy is almost packed to the brim, and then we hear it; “Life’s greatest questions have always been…”, and the flood of nostalgia instantly comes rushing back. This is the The Used  reliving their youthful years, and ‘In Love And Death’, which is now approaching 12-years-old, seems to have stood the test of time. Much as the album title suggests, love and death are the main topics of the night, much is the emo ethos, and the crowd gleefully sing along like there’s no tomorrow to the band’s flagship track ‘All That I’ve Got’, and hit the opening speech of ‘I’m A Fake’ word for word when it’s time.
As brilliant and sentimental as it is to witness one of the most notable albums of mid-00s emo in full live, there’s still much to be desired from the experience. Maybe a part of it is that the crowd are over a decade older since they first heard this album. Maybe a part of it is that Bert McCracken is no longer screaming, which presents a bit of problem in fully recreating the record, especially with ‘Sound Effects And Overdramatics’. Maybe some are seeing this as a precursor to what may be the band calling it a day.
Regardless, if nothing else, this a generous thank you to the fans for their years of loyalty, as well as a chance for The Used to relive the spoils of their youth once again.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)