Concert Review: The Used

May 19, 2018

Royal Oak Music Theatre

Reviewed by: Wade Panizzoli

Sometimes Saturday is thought of having all the time in the world, but this was not the case for my cousin and me. Rushing to Royal Oak from Sterling Heights, we ran inside the Royal Oak Music Theatre at 9:15 PM to the sound of fans screaming as the house lights went off. Seconds later, the two-note riff of ‘Maybe Memories’ started to play as the band began to fill the stage. My cousin and I made our way to the first tier of the venue with ease as there was a surprising absence of people on this particular Saturday night. As soon as my cousin and I got settled, fan-favorite, ‘Bird and the Worm’ started to play. I almost forgot about this song because I haven’t seen them play this song since 2015. The last two times I saw them were on the anniversary shows for the self-titled record and “In Love and Death.” Strictly only playing material from these records and in full, ‘Bird and the Worm’ did not exist yet. After the song concluded, vocalist Bert McCracken took a moment to warm up the crowd by saying things like “it’s so good to be back in Michigan tonight [I can] feel the love in the room tonight!” Having gone to many shows and realizing that these are statements often repeated, I couldn’t help but smile anyway as I was seeing one of my favorite bands.

The set moved on with hits old and new like ‘Take It Away’, ‘Cry’, ‘I Caught Fire’, ‘Blood On My Hands’ and more. The Used didn’t just play these songs, but extended bridges and outros to allow the maximum amount of crowd interaction. After these songs, McCracken claimed that he likes to see who the real Used fans are and wanted to see who would be singing along when the next song started. Instantly, the electric notes of “Empty with You” started to play and I was in awe; jaw-dropping-hands-on-my-cheeks awe. This song is well-known from the band but is also a rarity in the set. In the five times I’ve seen the Used, this was the first time I had heard the song played live. At the conclusion of the song I was unsure how the night could get any better as I was at an all-time high.

McCracken took another moment to say that the rest of the set is his favorite part because everyone knows all the words to these next songs and he wouldn’t have to sing as much. He was right, and I was wrong. Following that brief speech came “All That I’ve Got”, “The Taste of Ink”, “Buried Myself Alive”, and “Pretty Handsome Awkward.” McCracken was comedic and interactive throughout the entire show which I can understand, even though I would rather hear more songs. During the guitar solo of “Pretty Handsome Awkward” I truly had a laugh, because a crew member of the tour brought out a fan to give to McCracken, who then started to blow the hair of the newly-added guitar player, Joey Bradford, which probably made him feel like an absolute rockstar.

The Used now exited the stage and the crowd immediately jumped into chanting “one more song.” Every fan in the room should know they will definitely come back on stage, because “A Box Full of Sharp Objects” was not played yet. Minutes later the Used returned to the stage. Surely enough that’s what was played, but with their own twist on it, as they spoofed a little bit of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in the intro and outro of the song. This song is on the more hardcore style side of the Used and featured guest vocals from Jason Aalon Butler (ex-letlive., Fever 333) and Ryan Logan (the Crofoot). The Used only did that song for the encore and concluded their show with a classic “Thanks Michigan, we’ll see you next time!”