Five things we learned when the post-hardcore troupe rolled into the capital...
The Used, Live in London
Venue: The Scala
A post-Download intimate show from Bert McCracken's band
It’s hard to see Arcane Roots stepping out of Biffy Clyro’s shadow
Arcane Roots unquestionably have some great songs, the anthemic climax of You Are in particular sounds glorious tonight. It is still hard to shake the comparisons to a certain Scottish three piece though, even the way frontman Andrew Groves positions his legs has Simon Neil written all over it. At this stage it wouldn’t be a surprise if Groves fired the other members of his band in favour of a pair of ginger twins. While there’s unquestionably a lot of talent within this unit, it’s not currently being harnessed correctly to give them any sort of unique identity. The new single Over & Over remains Biffy-lite, and unless they do something drastic soon they may have already hit their glass ceiling.
There is a lot of love in the room for The Used
Due to the fact that they went off the mark a bit with a couple of dodgy albums, and even in their prime they never quite managed to inspire the fandom of one time friends/enemies My Chemical Romance, it would be easy for many to forget about The Used. Those gathered here tonight certainly haven’t forgotten about them. From the minute they step on stage the screams are hysterical. The room explodes as the fans spare little time in bouncing and singing along to recent single Cry, and it turns out a lot of people have a very special place in their hearts for this band.
Bert McCracken is equal parts unhinged and awe-inspiring
He always came across as something of an oddball, like the kid at school who would randomly wipe bogies in your hair just for a giggle. However tonight with a somewhat sinister grin plastered across his face Bert McCracken inspires unquestioning dedication. Whether he’s talking about fighting the powers that be, not fitting in, addiction problems, or even “being the girl in the centre of a bukake porno” there is pin drop silence as those gathered hang on to his every word and let off huge screams and applause for everything that passes his lips. It appears that weird little kid has grown up to become the Charles Manson of post-hardcore.
The Used really make it feel like music can change the world
While it’s a sentiment that’s been spread by everyone from Bob Geldof to folk bands trying to save their local donkey sanctuaries, the power of music is capable of making big changes. While they’re a band most people would associate with crying over girls rather than smashing the state, The Used’s ode to fighting an unfair class system, unsurprisingly titled Revolution, inspires many gathered here to spontaneously produce pieces of paper with the word 'Revolution' emblazoned upon them. It’s a small yet powerful and beautiful gesture that really hammers home that idea of community and people coming together to make a serious change.
Their back catalogue is shockingly under-rated
While the vast majority here are intent on going nuts, any present who had forgotten the very high standard of The Used’s back catalogue are given a welcome reminder. Playing a career spanning set that weighs in favour of the first two albums, how many huge hits they play is frankly ridiculous. Take It Away, The Bird And The Worm, Buried Myself Alive, I Caught Fire, The Taste Of Ink, to name but a few, all sound nothing short of perfect tonight. The closing mash-up of A Box Full Of Sharp Objects with Smells Like Teen Spirit and Killing In The Name Of, may be a bit unnecessary but the song at it’s core remains a keystone of emo and a superb way to finish to the night.