The Used - The Observatory - April 8, 2014
Courtesy Of: Anthony Duty of People and Things Photography
The Used The Observatory 4/8/14 A radio broadcast voice blares through the speakers and the room turns dark, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" fans scream at the tops of their lungs as The Used walk on the stage to face The Observatory's sold out show, for the second night in a row. The broadcast continues, "We live in a land of impunity especially for those in power." Lights begin to flicker exposing a wall of televisions with a cutout mid-center for drummer, Dan Whitesides, who sits on an elevated platform. Bert McCracken, lead vocalist, begins to sing "Maybe Memories" and red and white lights flash on the TV's exposing distorted faces with red lines across their eyes, nodding to their most recent album Imaginary Enemy.
The intro to "Take It Away" plays "You're about to see and hear one of the most significant messages given to us from God." McCracken stands with his back to the audience and his hands point upward in a v-shape. When the guitar and drums hit, after the iconic cocking of a gun, he spits a sea of water towards the ceiling and the crowd goes apeshit with bodies diving towards the stage, and security braces the fall of one fan after another. They move on to perform "The Bird And The Worm" and "Listening" as Justin Shekoski and Jeph Howard kill it on the guitar and bass respectively.
McCraken smiles to catch his breath and says, "After being in this band for 15 years, I'm humbled by the fact that we still have this much support. Thank you for keeping the dream alive. I'm fully prepared to have the best night of my entire life." He addresses two girls fighting in the mosh pit, "You know what would be good for women's rights? If women looked after each-other." They began to perform "Cry" and he tosses his hat into the audience. When they finish the song he says, "I need two people to come help me out with something and you have to be a couple. They're going to have to make-out the entire fucking song so I hope you're in love." Two girls find their way to the stage and he warns them if they stop making out he'll kick them off. They begin "I Caught Fire (In Your Eyes) and the girls go at it, dead center, guys quickly reach for their phones to update Snapchat feeds and the entire crowd sings along.
"Are you feeling the love in this room?" McCracken asks the crowd. He ejects his hands towards the stage in the shape of a heart. "When you take a look around the world you live in, you may see a lot of fucked up shit. But I'm confident that if this many people can come together over music then we can come together over human rights. I'm a strong believer in people. If you believe, like I believe, then you know that people can still make a difference in this world we live in. It's not too late." They perform "The Taste of Ink" from their 2002, self titled album, and next another favorited track off In Love And Death "All That I've Got." A young girl crowdsurfing with ease films a selfie, video, as she sings "I'll be just fine/Pretending I'm not/I'm far from lonely/And it's all that I've got."
He begins to talk about a book called Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire. "The message is simple. Only the oppressed can free themselves from oppression. The evolution we are talking about is human consciousness. Knowledge is powder people." McCraken moves his hands as if he's commanding a massive fleet and they perform "Revolution" the first single off their 2014 album Imaginary Enemy. They perform a few last tracks before exiting the stage for 60 seconds. Dedicated fans, several wearing The Used t-shirts, still have their eyes locked on the stage as the band returns and Rage Against The Machine's "Killing In The Name" intro begins to play. They transition to perform "A Box Full Of Sharp Objects" and close the show by covering "Killing In The Name."
The Used gave the crowd their fix of post-hardcore music but more importantly left them with an important message- music can spark a revolution.
Set List Maybe Memories Take It Away The Bird And The Worm Listening Cry I Caught Fire (In Your Eyes) The Taste Of Ink All That I've Got Buried Myself Alive Revolution Blue and Yellow Give Me Love Pretty Handsome Awkward
Encore A Box Full Of Sharp Objects Killing In The Name (Rage Against The Machine)
Overheard: A drunk girl screams to her friend, moments before the band takes the stage, "You're just not a ninja!" (Shout out to my favorite Skype emojicon).
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.