Not only did we send Allan Maxwell along to photograph, we also had Lukas Nielson on hand to review The Used's long awaited return to Scotland. Have a read below! The long wait is finally over and emo legends The Used have returned to Scotland for a massive show in Glasgow’s SWG3, bringing with them a pair of newer bands on the scene that are making their debut on these shores. It has been a long eight years since their last venture up north of the border, and a close-to-sold-out venue is packed with younger fans and nostalgic thirty-something’s that have braved the cold night to vent their teenage angst.
Starting off proceedings, Honey Revenge let loose with a short, wildly entertaining set of what could easily be future pop-punk and emo hits. Vocalist Devin Papadol’s infectious energy and positivity sets the night up perfectly as they bounce through tracks from their debut album ‘Retrovision’, including the massive ‘Are You Impressed?’ and ‘Airhead’ that seem destined for airtime as they turn more heads in their direction. They seem to have some fans already in the audience, but by the end of their opening slot that number will undoubtedly off the back of this surprisingly great set.
Speaking of surprises, The Home Team receive such a warm welcome that it could have easily been a headline slot for the Seattle-based four piece. Seemingly bringing along a proportionate amount of their own fans on this busy night, the energy during their set is unmatched for the evening. Tracks like ‘She’s Quiet’ and ‘Move It Or Lose It’ are evidence of this, encouraging waves of bobbing heads and some more energetic responses throughout the SWG3. Confessing at one point that this is also their first foray to Scotland, they completely enthral the room with their more ‘pop’ skewed pop-punk. Considering the strength of their set and the tracks they play, it hopefully won’t be too long before they become household names and bring their own headline tour back to the UK.
Following on from the fun that the support bands have brought to the evening, The Used have surprisingly big shoes to fill. Thankfully, they bound onto the stage and immediately kick things into full gear with what will be to many a dream setlist, spanning their entire career thus far. Having not performed in Glasgow in quite some time, some disappointment could be levelled at the lack of tracks from their previous two releases, with only ‘Blow Me’ from the excellent ‘Heartwork’ record being included in their set. This soon becomes irrelevant considering how well curated the set is, which is largely packed with fan favourites and deep cuts from their 00’s albums. Tracks like ‘Taste of Ink’, ‘I Caught Fire’, and ‘All That I’ve Got’ sweep the room up in nostalgic emo revelry, which still hit as well now as they did around the time of release. Their set isn’t just a victory lap for days gone by though – vocalist Bert McCracken introduces their massive lead single from their new album ‘Toxic Positivity’ as “a song about not giving up”, which is conversely titled ‘Giving Up’. McCracken names this as his favourite The Used song, which is fair enough considering that this uplifting and introspective track about overcoming the demons of mental health could well be the best single they’ve released in years.
Having packed so much into their set, they thank the crowd of old and new fans before dimming the lights and letting the room demand their return for an encore. There’s only one track that could introduce them back to the stage, and as McCracken takes to the mic to utter the words “Small, simple, safe price”, the room repeat every poetic, spoken-word line back at him as they fire headlong into emo anthem “I’m A Fake”. McCracken states at one point that “We’ve never broken up, we’ve never taken a break, we’ve never stopped, we’re still here” – the second of two digs that he levels at their frenemies and emo stablemates in My Chemical Romance tonight. This may well be the case, and there’s no one in attendance that would feel upset about this fact, but there’s also no real doubt that their energy has changed during the course of their 20+ year career. Their considerable line-up and stylistic changes over the years have had an effect on the band, but tonight shows that their spirit hasn’t diminished. McCracken’s still as funny and faux-antagonistic as he’s always been, and his clean vocal performances are as compelling as always, but screaming-duties have defaulted to bassist and vocalist Jeph Howard. McCracken carries himself differently than he has in the previous decades, but it’s not really to the detriment of his performance.
People change, times change, but tonight shows that the fire behind their music hasn’t. The fact that The Used are still going strong this far into their career is great to see, and tonight is evidence that they’ve still got plenty left in the tank.