There was so much excitement when old school emo giants The Used announced not only would they be heading back to the UK to play a handful of dates in celebration of 15 years, but that the dates would be two nights in both Leeds and London playing their Self-Titled Album and In Love and Death in their entirety respectively.
Leeds is the first stop on the UK dates with self-titled at the O2 Academy. It’s early doors to accommodate the support act The New Regime and to allow time for the album to be played in full.
The New Regime take to the stage with touring drummer and bassist appearing on stage first with frontman Ilan Rubin joining them shortly after plugging his guitar in for the set to start. The drummer who previously played for Lostprophets has also drummed for Angels and Airwaves, Nine Inch Nails and Paramore and is obviously a talented musician but you can’t help but feel the act is somewhat lacking excitement. There isn’t much crowd interaction from the band and nor is there much in the way of lyrics either with the band producing mostly instrumental solos. Unfortunately the crowd seem to be more interested in conversation than the band – with many of them arriving after the support act.
The Used take to the stage to chants and screams from the snow much fuller crowd. Frontman Bert McCracken literally bursts onto stage with the biggest smile on his face due to the crowds reaction and dive straight into the opening track of the self-titled album – Maybe Memories – it’s like stepping into a time machine and landing right back in 2002. Bert bounds around the stage lapping up every ounce of the crowd singing along with him. He speaks to the crowd making a point of that they ‘wanted this tour to be about rolling back to your younger selves and discovering The Used for the first time and that as a band they are remembering what it was like to perform the tracks 15 years ago’. McCracken spots someone in the front rows and asks if he can ‘borrow their glove’ ( a black fingerless glove that’s promptly thrown to the frontman ) who then puts it on. His face is constantly beaming, reminding the crowd to ‘forget about all the worries of adult life and just wind back to when you first heard The Used and that album. The speech kick starts The Taste of Ink and starts the crowd sing alongs at the best of their ability and there is crowd-surfers galore. After each song Bert talks to the crowd and speaks about what the album is about; a true throwback to some tougher times and each song is delivered with a certain amount of punch and that angst you felt as a teen hearing them for the first time. Track Blue and Yellow is delivered with such a heartfelt performance – the crowd sing along softly and the whole room erupts at the end of the song. The Used have been going a long time, and it’s clear to see why they’re still such a pioneering band in the scene.
All images by : Lauren Stead Photography