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The Used, The Webster Hartford CT Friday April 11th, 2014

McCracken

McCracken

I never really listened to The Used, but had heard tons about them, and never really looked into what all the hype was about.  I got to The Webster just in time to catch their set, and really had no idea what to expect.  In my head, they were a harder band so I couldn’t understand why they were touring with Taking Back Sunday.  Regardless, when the lights went down and the band came on, I realized why everyone loved them so much.

First off, the frontman is extraordinarily charismatic.  Bert McCracken, vocalist from the beginning, has been leading The Used since 2001, and he certainly loves what he does.  He was enthusiastic, giving it his all, starting with the tune “Cry”.  It’s a tune off their latest album, and one of the singles they did a music video for.  I was really impressed with the bassist, Jeph Howard, and how the basslines, complicated as they were, were played with such ease and he was definitely the glue that held the song together.  My first impression of the band was made during this song, and it was really positive.
McCracken’s voice wasn’t particularly discernible against the band, which wasn’t great.  I wasn’t sure if the acoustics in the venue were bad or the sound guy messed up, but I found that I was struggling to hear him.  What I could make out was good, smooth and clear vocals that were worth struggling to hear.  The man’s downfall was he was a bit arrogant.  He seemed to have a god complex and was a bit in love with himself.  However, I’d assume that performing in front of a packed room full of people who know your lyrics and are singing them back to you would boost your ego a bit.
Overall, the quartet was tight-knit and well rehearsed, considering three of the four had been playing together for 13 years. But, when they played the song, “Revolution”, they kind of lost me.  This was when the ego shone through.  McCracken sang about starting a revolution, how our generation are the ones in charge of it.  He seemed to be the revolution leader, once again giving himself power.  The almost cultish chant at one point in the set of “fuck you I won’t do what you tell me” solidified this.  The fans kind of allowed themselves to be treated as sheep, giving themselves to the band.  Regardless, you can’t blame the crowd for being easily swayed.
The Used was great live, their sound was good and crisp, except for a bit of trouble with the vocals.  However, performance-wise, they weren’t very impressive.  I feel like just listening to a live album would be better than catching them live again.

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