Venue: The Coliseum, Hard Rock Hotel, Singapore
Date: 18th May 2013
Promoter: Live! Empire
Review by: Fadhil R.
Special Thanks: Aziz and the Live! Empire team
Photos courtesy of Live! Empire by Lionel Boon, and Jared Rezel
There is no more beautiful sight at all of the live concerts I’ve been to. Nothing that makes the heart soar higher, the pulse race faster, the beard grow more thicker, or the sweat being shared within the strong chanting crowd with more joyous gusto.
Few shows come our way to Singapore at that kind of level and no doubt The Used deserved to be treated with that kind of adoration as much as we are hoping that to happen here at The Coliseum. Quite frankly, they just don’t fall into the “you are a massive dickhead if you don’t like this band’ subgenre; they own it. The Used should be headlining venues twice the size of a football field by now, but we’re hardly going to complain about it since this was their grand debut in Singapore.
Caracal – our homegrown band, lighted up the arena with their own brand of music. They were all geared up for what is commonly referred to as a rager. The post-hardcore artists were the perfect curtain raiser for the event as their galloping riffs can cause broken lungs and some mighty vocals from their frontman restored the normality of the gig. They clearly love to dispense confusion with their odd time signatures and songs like ‘Wolves’, ‘Sharks’, and ‘Snake Blood’. For the most part, the band’s heavy mix of industrial grooves and fuzzed-out showmanship went down smoothly and turned into a promising performance, one that calls upon a quick return and a bigger stage. This rules actually.
With their strong imagery and not one to put up with diluted notions of rock, The Used frontman Bert McCracken’s charged call to arms resounded with determination. “Listening” and “Bird And The Worm” gave that feel good factor at the start, but that night there were plenty of reason to feel a warm, fuzzy glow. The band pulled a decent crowd and their excitement levels impressed the audience. “Put Me Out” from their recent Vulnerable album ramped up the intensity with infectious energy spreading throughout the crowd. Jeph Howard the bassist created a reaction that visibly overwhelmed the band as he crafted sounds that have more in common, especially those classic nostalgic rock hits like “I Caught Fire” and “Taste of Ink”. By now they have hit their stride as everyone seemed to know the drill; songs that were the blueprint for the band and the fans as well. There were some dodgy sounds in between but Bert is a master frontman. The way he teased and got the front crowd yearning to tear his pink t-shirt, little did he know he was wearing inside out.
“I Come Alive” sounded huge and sends the fans out into the night with big grin on their faces as that undeniable track stood head and shoulders above all songs in their new album. It’s hard to zero in on what exactly it is that has seen The Used receive the kind of attention and widespread love that is usually reserved for future arena headliners, excluding the Take Action Tour, which was early this year. Most people know The Used’s story by now, so suffice to say that the American rockers have deservedly claimed their place in the rock industry.
As soon as their beloved song “All That I’ve Got” rings out, the boys-to-men transformed the venue into a scene of greeting heroes for what they’ve implanted into our precious memories all these years. “Take It Away” and “Buried Myself Alive” ensued as the following songs kicked off a supercharged mosh pit that had the faithful banging their heads and punching the air like their lives depend on it. Those powerful choruses and crunching riffs once again were an unbeatable combination. “Blood On My Hands” is a classic rock, creating a monster infused with Refused and Alice In Chains-esque melodies while “Pretty Handsome Awkward” had the crowd singing along at full volume. It seemed like it’s going to be a fairytale ending for most of us.
Not much of newer materials from The Used but tonight’s bill turned rock on their heads as “Pieces Mended” made the crowd go nuts. Bert, Jeph, Dan and Quinn were soon surfing with punishing hooks with that song as it showcased the band was not at the very peak of their powers. The crowd moshed and cheered until the last note as the foursome’s elevating tempo was ending.
At that point of time, I felt like racing around with a middle finger if an encore is barred from gigs, I probably I would revert back watching William Hung’s audition tapes. With steady legs standing for an hour, finally The Used blew every last speck of dust into the crowd as an awe-inspiring finale.
When the band took the stage once again with an acoustic piece titled “On My Own”, those pesky gremlins in me have been eradicated and Quinn’s beautiful plucking did little to discourage Bert as he was in a good mood, resonating the spotlights on him. As usual, it’s a stripped down affair, as the band has always preferred to just let the music do the talking. And ending their set with “A Box Full Of Sharp Objects”, who can blame them? A stone-cold classic from their debut LP concluded that The Used proved yet again why their live experiences are truly something to behold.
As long there is enough shimmering music and heart-pumping riffage coming through from them in the near future, that would be ideal to keep a The Used fan interested all the way through!