The Used

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author TL date 06/06/07 venue Lille Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

The Used

Two years have passed since The Used last greeted Denmark's shores, and today is the day where they return in support of their new album "Lies For The Liars". The Danish summer is peaking around the corner and today it's hot enough outside of Vega to have even the emo-est of emos down to two layers of clothing. The gig has been sold out for some time now, and rumour in the line is that the crazy Swedes up front (crazy Swedes are omnipresent at emo gigs in Copenhagen) have been lying here since yesterday, for no sensible reason. Earlier today, this intrepid journalist-wannabe had been following Bert McCracken's hooded attempt at slipping into the venue for the interview (that'll be posted on this very site as soon as possible), which was an attempt with a pretty pathetic result, as fans of course noticed the controversial frontman anyway and various degrees of hysteria ensued as a result.

We hold down the skip-button a bit, and voila, now we're inside the venue, well ahead of the show for once, which means we have time to once again wonder what we're doing in Lille Vega ("Small Vega" - The smaller of Vega's two concert rooms), as concerts that sell out here are usually moved to the larger of the two rooms. In effect, the room we're located in is a rather small one, with space for no more than a couple of hundred people, an only mildly elevated stage, and a small balcony area in one side. The Used is one of the few bands that have managed to win through and gain widespread success in at least the emo-culture of the otherwise pathetically ignorant Danish music scene (something I'm not going to be done with ranting over anytime soon), and so, it is fair to say that anxiety can be felt emanating from the most die hard fans who are of course already clinging to the barriers like their lives were at stake. Truly, it's like a very small scale My Chemical Romance experience in here by now.

Getting on from what I've managed to make an insanely long introduction, 15 minutes later than planned, the band comes on stage and gets things started with "The Bird And The Worm". Two things immediately become very clear. 1) People here are fans. They have come to see a band they've known and loved for a long time. 2) No one seems to have had problems getting their ears in contact with the new songs. Effectively the dedicated and passionate singalong is on from the get go, and that's probably a good thing because, frankly, sound wise things aren't getting off to a very impressive start. It's the same old story really.. instruments are a blur and the deeper parts of the vocals are completely falling out. The crowd seems hellbent on not letting that spoil their fun though, and the madness taking place could easily fit a more convincing opening. As if heartened by the response, things are improved on "Take It Away", but the status of the particular song only encourages the fans to race even further ahead of the band in terms of passion, as a volatile mosh pit opens up in the middle of everything. This vibe continues as the band takes us through "Liar Liar (Burn In Hell)", "Taste Of Ink", "All That I've Got", "Buried Myself Alive" and "On My Own", but while the fan(atics?) are going at it with relentless fury I'm gradually starting to notice that something is missing. That something is the band mirroring the crowds frantic activity. From what I've heard, The Used is a band that, lead by the flat out notorious Bert, usually guarantees a completely mentally depraved stage show, but tonight, their performance is tamer than the clean family-entertainment My Chemical Romance presented in KB Hallen earlier this year.

Returning attention to the progress of the show, it's around this time that half the band disappears and Bert starts messing around with the drums for a while. Then follows a crowd-interaction game, where Bert, accompanied by only an acoustic guitar, encourages the crowd to scream along on the lines "Fuck me and fuck you too". For a while, we get to hear an instrumental period that never really becomes anything except boring. Hence it's with relief that we welcome the well known tones that suddenly emerge from the speakers, and with surprise we realize that they form Queen's legendary "Another One Bites The Dust". They play about half of the song and then finally return to the task at hand, namely playing their own material. They do so with "Pretty Handsome Awkward" that further establishes the fact that no-one's complaining about the new songs. After "Hospital", Bert tells people to separate, and teaches the crowd what a Wall Of Death is, which I have to give him credit for, given that most Danish gig-attendees rarely even know what moshing is. Even so, when "A Box Full Of Sharp Objects" commences, 'The Wall' isn't really performed that well, and the ordinary mosh pit quickly re-establishes itself. Again, I can't help but notice that even though this is one of the songs that's usually most anticipated, the activity in the crowd isn't really increasing, and even when Bert announces that the next song is the last song, and it's the completely new song "Pain", and that "THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE", it's still like the crowd is either burned out or saving their strength for the encore they KNOW has to come. Clearly everyone is thinking something along the lines of "They haven't played "I Caught Fire", "I'm A Fake" or "Maybe Memories" yet, so they HAVE to be saving some of those for an encore".

So when the band leaves and I notice the exit lamps are going on, I suddenly realize what that really bad feeling in my stomach is. The time is 22:11, the band has left after less than an hour of playing, and with their best songs by far still missing, and they're clearly not coming back. The crowd is in a state of disbelief, and for once, with the return of band not taken for granted, the call for them to do so is more persistent than I've ever seen it. Even as curtains at the windows are drawn away and the one in front of the stage is drawn forth, people keep calling. Nothing. Gradually, the disbelief turns into disappointment, and suddenly people are repeating the words Bert taught them earlier; "And FUCK you too!". I have to admit that I feel sympathetic towards this lack of gratitude. For weeks, everyone I know who' has seen The Used have been telling me how crazy they are on stage and how their shows are awesome, and tonight, in a venue that has potential for great intimacy, they treat us to a completely mediocre routine performance. And what's the deal with instrumental wanking and boring covers when you don't even stay for an hour and completely disregard your most loved material? Granted, some bands can pull this off, but guys, get real, you're not Brand New, people do NOT worship you religiously no matter what songs you play. For a band that's known for going on about how honesty and passion are all that matters, the show tonight was completely generic and forgettable and even if people did have fun, the opportunity to do so was caused mainly by the awesome crowd, not by the band they had come to see.


  • 1. The Bird And The Worm
  • 2. Take It Away
  • 3. Liar Liar (Burn In Hell)
  • 4. Taste Of Ink
  • 5. All That I've Got
  • 6. Buried Myself Alive
  • 7. On My Own
  • 8. Pretty Handsome Awkward
  • 9. Hospital
  • 10. A Box Full Of Sharp Objects
  • 11. Pain

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