The Used @ Marquee Theatre | 2/24/13
On Sunday night, the Marquee Theatre reverberated with the sound of cheering fans and hardcore screamo tunes on the Take Action Tour, which aims to raise awareness about such issues as teen suicide, bullying, and more (super-badass). The tour this year consists of The Used, We Came as Romans, Crown the Empire and Mindflow.
It was a night of youthful energy, even if some of the bands (The Used, for example) aren't so youthful anymore.
Dallas' Crown the Empire put electronic accents on its vocally muscular heavy metal. Brazilian metallers Mindflow used hard-edge progressive rock with South American influences to whip the crowd into a frenzy. We Came as Romans encouraged crowd surfers and circle pits with its fusion of hardcore and screamo. During the set, vocalist David Stephens gave a speech about how no one is ever alone and that everyone was at the concert for two reasons: music and to be united.
Finally, as The Used, a screamo-meets-hardcore act from Utah, took the stage, the crowd went crazy. It's no wonder that the band has maintained such a strong fanbase for well over a decade. They had a range of hit albums in the early 2000s but also have gone through some slumps and issues with record labels. But through it all, fans have stuck by them. Maybe because they aren't afraid to show their flaws. Hell, they love to flaunt them. And of course that resonates deeply within the emo and hardcore punk communities.
There are two things that are important to note about The Used. One: They punch into live shows -- and the studio -- with such work ethic and adrenaline that they're still able to bring their old-school fans to the venues. I guess this surprises me, even though I'm one of those old-school fans, because I don't attend too many shows where there are fans 15-plus years younger than me. But I still show up to hear such favorite nostalgic jams as "Buried Myself Alive" and "Taste of Ink."
And it's that same "go big with balls out" mentality that makes you realize that the bands they bring on tour with them, always younger, hardcore fledgling musicians, will go on to do great things. Two: when it comes to lead vocalist Bert McCracken, you never quite know what temperament he'll be in on any given evening. He ranges from incredibly erratic and passionate to almost uncaring at times. His crazed, wide-eyed expression is usually the norm.
The band cruised through the majority of the hits from its albums, not focusing too much on its most recent discs, 2012's Vulnerable and 2013's Vulnerable II. The musicians sounded great and tight, very impressive considering McCracken battles with vocal cord problems on a daily basis (he had vocal cord surgery about six years ago).
Fans sang along to well-known favorites such as "The Taste of Ink," "Take It Away," "I Caught Fire," "All That I've Got" and, of course, "A Box Full of Sharp Objects," as well as newer tracks as "I Come Alive," "Put Me Out," and "Now That You're Dead."
Listening The Bird and the Word Put Me Out I Caught Fire Hands and Faces The Taste of Ink I Come Alive All That I've Got Take it Away Buried Myself Alive Blood on My Hands The Best of Me Pieces Mended Pretty Handsome A Box Full of Sharp Objects
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The Crowd: Ranged from bubblegum punk princesses to skinny skaters with gauged ears, with a few older groups of fans thrown in.
Overheard in the Crowd: "At least this is better than the Oscars."
Personal Bias: I used to sit in my girlfriend's trucks during high school, smoke pot, and blast 2002's Maybe Memories. So The Used have a little place in my heart.