By Mike Shomaker, DC Music Live
When The Used formed twelve years ago, they probably didn’t think that they would still be touring. That statement probably needs a little context. It’s not that they thought they sucked (well, maybe they did) but no band hits the road for the first time with the thought, “oh yeah, we’ll be around for a decade.” But here we are, over a decade later and the hardcore/alt rock act from Orem, Utah is still out on the road with the same unflinching desire to kick ass and change lives. Currently, The Used are headlining the Take Action Tour alongside We Came as Romans, Crown the Empire and Brazilian metalcorists Mindflow to promote the “It Gets Better Project,” a charity that assists the LGBT community. This past Monday, the Take Action group took over the 9:30 Club and as expected, annihilated the crowd.
In typical fashion, Texas-based metalcore folks Crown The Empire were electrifying, dedicating most of their 45 minute set to Fallout, their debut record which released last year. To follow, We Came As Romans ripped through an intense set despite rhythm guitarist Brian “Lou” Cotton being down with the flu. WCAR have gathered a considerable fan base since their success on tour alongside bands like Silverstein, A Day to Remember and Miss May I. The band was also highlighted in the Vans Warped Tour official program in 2011. In a recent interview, they confirmed that they’d begin recording a new album in March.
Following the awesome openers, lead singer/ring leader Bert McCracken followed his band out amid the flare of pulsating lights overhead, smoking a cigarette pensively. A deafening roar erupted. After a brief moment, he casually flicked the lit butt into the crowd and the band exploded into their opener, “Listening.”
The crowd’s energy soared through hits “I Come Alive,” and “Bird and the Worm,” as sporadic mosh pits opened up across the floor while crowd surfers hurled themselves up over the sweaty mess towards the stage. At one point, Bert quipped that D.C. was, “one of the best cities to play in…definitely, top 100.”
Notable sing-a-longs “Taste of Ink,” and “Pretty Handsome Awkward,” are reminders of the band’s ability to dig deep into their voluminous catalog and get the crowd roused. But they’re far from a nostalgic group that leans on early hits as a crutch. Their latest effort, Vulnerable (which has recently been rereleased with bonus tracks), has been superbly received by fans and critics, producing several catchy tunes such as, “Now That You’re Dead,” and the anthemic “Shine.” Altogether, the ratio of old to new songs played was ideal, giving fans of all eras something to belt out.
Through the entire one hour and fifteen minute set, the momentum never slowed, closing out in traditional fashion with the cult favorite “Box Full of Sharp Objects.” Before igniting the 9:30 Club for the last time, Bert gripped the mic and screamed that this was “the best song ever written,” and briefly kicked into Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” which shares the same chords before transitioning into “Box Full.”
Overall, it was a stellar performance for a good cause. If there is one thing young and up and comers can learn from a seasoned band like The Used it is to never quit
and don’t change for anyone.
Click here for more pictures from the show.