This year, post-hardcore veterans The Used are celebrating their 15th anniversary, and they’re doing so with a two shows per city tour in which they are playing their first two albums, each in its entirety, on back-to-back nights.
After a raucous first show in Boston on Friday night, they were at it again on Saturday playing their sophomore album, “In Love and Death.” The night took on a bit of a ‘songs and stories’ format at times, as frontman Bert McCracken often paused to deliver anecdotes about some of the songs on the album. “In Love and Death” is a deeply personal album for McCracken especially as it was written during a very dark period in his life in which his former girlfriend passed away from a drug overdose while pregnant with their child. Additionally, the tour has also been a chance for the group to play some of the deeper cuts in their catalog including “Let It Bleed” and “Cut Up Angels” two songs that had not been played live prior to this tour.
That post-hardcore edge still remains on the band even 15 years in, as evidenced by the high energy level on the song “Sound Effects and Overdramatics,” one of the heavier songs from the early portion of their career. Though McCracken and bassist Jeph Howard are the only original members remaining from when the album was released current members Justin Shekoski (guitar) and drummer Dan Whitesides - who’s been with the group since 2006 - played seamlessly and with emotion on even the deepest of cuts as if they’d been present during the writing of the album themselves.
After playing the album The Used returned for a one song encore, playing “Pretty Handsome Awkward” - a barn burner of a song - especially in a live setting, as it features a wall of death, or as McCracken called it, a “wall of love.”
The Used have aged better than most of their contemporaries, never having compromised their sound and embracing the ‘emo’ label that most bands once tried to shed. They have grown into a seasoned, tight rock band, who know how to fire up a crowd and leave their souls on the stage every night, truly believing in what they do.
Prior to The Used’s set, opening act The New Regime got the crowd fired up with a hard rock set filled with Zeppelin-esque guitar riffs. The New Regime is the brainchild of Ilan Rubin, a seasoned drummer who has recorded with Lostprophets, Paramore, Angels & Airwaves, and is the current drummer for industrial legends Nine Inch Nails. All the music by The New Regime is written and recorded by Rubin himself, while the live band is a three piece. Throughout their 45 minute set, they delivered a set that was reminiscent of a classic rock show with Rubin pulling off impressive guitar solos with a heavy Led Zeppelin influence.