The Used @ Manchester 02 Ritz 30th August 2018

Arriving at this venue I was impressed early with the friendly nature of the staff, they all seemed happy and helpful. I’ve never shot at this venue before but have attended as a customer.

The first band and only support of the night was a band called Lowlives. Instant comparisons can be made with The Used but they seemed heavier/punkier in nature with more shrieks and crushingly loud riffs, the song ‘Thieves’ was a highlight. Pure punk madness.

Their energy couldn’t be faltered, ‘Burn It Down’ was another banger and it’s admirable to find a cathartic punk band who evidently loves to smash things whilst also remaining quite catchy, with some massive choruses. I can see a lot of Nirvana in them.

The already large crowd enjoyed them, the heads were banging. A nice warm up act who are running with this opportunity infront of a band who have a loyal following.

The Used took to the stage with cheers echoing all around the room, with significant cheers when Bert came onstage, hand up to the audience as if he were greeting long time friends.

Opening with ‘Take It Away’ (2004) the band make a statement early on that they intend to play some older songs for the fairly young audience which goes down a treat. ‘The Bird and the Worm’ (2007) was a personal favourite of mine many years ago and Bert to this day sings with conviction, even after many years of performing.

Bert was as erratic onstage as expected, covering his entire head in a scarf attached to the microphone and jumping around. He interacted with the audience very well and even threw in some shifts into other songs such as ‘Kiss Me’ and ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ at random moments.

They shifted into more recent material with ‘Cry’ (2014), the rockier nature is more amplified here and people all around the room are still chanting the words with smiles plastered across their faces. Post-hardcore elements are still present with Bert not afraid to let out a passionate shriek every now and again. ‘Empty Without You’ (2009), the songs all share similar themes such as love, relationships and anxiety.

‘The Taste of Ink’ (2004) went down a treat, it was one of their most popular songs and the crowd loved every second. Bert’s vocal ability is very impressive, the cleans are so well controlled and is easy on the ears. Smoke machines and some suprisingly eye catching lighting made it highly entertaining.

Ending with ‘Pretty Handsome Awkward’ (2007) was the moment everyone was waiting for. The entire room erupted in a moment of pure nostalgia. All the kids grew up with this song blasting out from their MP3 Players and we all relived those scene days during the performance. The echoes of people shouting ‘Hey, are you okay?’ during the chorus could’ve taken the roof off.

Overall it was a great night and a great performance. They’ve been going now for 17 years and that alone is something to be admired. Rock, post-hardcore, emo or punk, they can’t be defined into one but what they do have is substance.

Until next time.

Reviewer and Photographer: Neale Hayes

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