The Used visited the Tabernacle last Sunday along with lesser-known and younger bands The Almost and Ride A. The show started weakly but moved up from there after a chaotic and frenetic start.
Ride A started the evening festivities and they had plenty of energy. They just happened to look like they were plucked from the plentiful high school crowd, replete with tight clothing and longish hair that they would flick around after a few stanzas, and given a crash course on how to play guitar. With profound lyrics like “I want nothing from you, I want you to leave me alone” in songs titled “All alone” it was clear their experience in writing prose was also limited to a high School English course. If intentional, then their act was nothing short of satirical genius.
Following Ride A was The Almost. Instead of baby faced band members in tight clothing prancing around the stage were slightly older guys who had already been around the circuit a few times and just wanted to rock. It was improvement over the mediocre performance of Ride A, but they were no The Used and the audience sensed that. The band had to routinely pump up the audience in between songs to generate some reaction from them. There were even a couple mosh pits formed and some of the attendees might have even have been fans and came just to hear them but most everyone else was there to see the Used and they would not be denied. Finally The Almost finished their last set.
The lights dimmed and there was a collective inhalation of anticipation from the desperately edgy hodgepodge in the crowd. Concert attendees came in all types and they saturated the former church. High school students were in abundance: teenage girls with blackishly thick dark eye liner that somehow amazingly did not blind them were giggling incessantly at each other over who knows what. The high school guys could be sub-divided into two categories: there were the passive ones, bobbing their heads and arms to the music. Their distinguishing trait was their jeans: always a few sizes too small. Then there were the tough guys: they were the ones who moshed the center of the stage into a war zone, often sans shirts. There were the middle aged hipsters always screaming and dancing to let everyone know just how edgy they still were. There were the professional post-college graduates, arms akimbo, too proper to let themselves get caught up in the frenzy of the concert. They must have forgotten what concert they were attending. The last category was comprised of judgmental media types responsible for reviewing the concert.
A projector began airing the trip The Used took to Atlanta on the far wall; a slight rumble began building from the audience as the show droned on with no The Used in sight. Flickering on the projector screen were The Used members conversing easily with each other in their vans and the crescendo built. The crowd began growing restless, the roar still full of excitement but now laced with an urgent demand, and still The Used teased refusing entrance.
When the crescendo hit a roaring apex, the band made their appearance, easing into their positions as they rode the wave of applause into their first sequence. Without pause, the band switched from song to song, relentlessly riding the long ascending wave forward. They were a perfect storm, their elements composed of unending drum beats, intricate guitar chords and frantic indiscernible screaming that seemingly and inexorably paved the wave forward. The audience was some miraculously graced participant lucky to be along for the ride and everyone loved it.
The music isn’t for everyone; it takes a certain type of person to enjoy screaming metal intertwined with angst-filled lyrics. Still, the energy generated by The Used was unmistakably palpable, strong enough to act as a pace-maker synchronizing the heart beats of the entire audience along with the relentless pulse of the band. There is a reason for the band’s sustained popularity and those who might not necessarily enjoy this brand of music should still go to one of their concerts for just the show. Those who skip the opening bands won’t miss much though.