Punk Rock is Alive and Well, Thanks to The Used

Brooklyn Bowl, May 24

Nothing says “15th anniversary tour” like shaking floors, mosh pits and temporary hearing loss. On May 24, The Used put on what is, without a doubt, one of the best shows in the punk rock world. Lead singer Bert McCracken, bassist Jeph Howard, drummer Dan Whitesides and guitarist Justin Shekoki took the stage with what looked like fire beneath their asses, and ready to kick some as well. I don’t think I’ve felt more energy (or more sweaty bodies) in one room in a long time. The Used fans were more then ready to let out 15 years’ worth of aggression, frustration, happiness, etc.

The first night of the band’s two nights of sold-out Brooklyn Bowl shows was devoted to the band’s first, self-titled studio album, which they played in its entirety. Hits such as “Box Full of Sharp Objects” and “Taste of Ink” reminded us of the emo-loving punk rock kid that’s still inside all of us. They slowed it down a bit with “On My Own” and “Pieces Mended.”

You could feel the band’s appreciation for the crowd throughout each song. McCracken even stopped at points, patted his chest and looked teary-eyed as the crowd sang his lyrics back to him. His interaction with the crowd was tremendous; the way McCracken would talk to the crowd in between songs gave the rowdy crowd of drunken men and woman a whole new high, like they were all children again trying soda pop for the first time.

“You can be your childlike self, here with us,” McCracken said before “Poetic Tragedy,” a song written for a fallen friend. This song brought tears to my eyes for personal reasons, and in appreciation of singer-songwriters who really put it all out there for their fans. That takes guts.

(Also refreshing: The Used demonstrated that they weren’t going to change who they were, even after all these years. “Feel free to make some real memories tonight, and stick your phone up your fucking ass,” McCracken said.)

One thing that stood out right from the get-go was how fucking happy everyone was. Smiles as far as the eye could see. I’m not talking fake, cheesy, let’s-smile-for-a-selfie smiles, but the type of smile that’s contagious and says so much more then what a person can actually say.

If you couldn’t make it this two-night event, there’s no need to worry. We can all expect a little more of The Used in the future, according to McCracken. “We have played this bowling alley before, and I can guarantee it won’t be the last time.”★★★★★

Photos by Fred Morledge / Kabik Photo Group