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The Used

Barely Used

by Jason Basson / 15.08.2011

I’m not the biggest fan of screamo, nor do I applaud the gothy twink fashion and bad hair that desperately accompany it like flies on soft poo. The Used, however, were a lot better than anticipated. But that honesty doesn’t say much. Screamo is, after all, one of those ‘has-been’ fads that are about as superfluous and forgettable as scented bog-roll and flavoured lube. I do mean it, though. The Used were surprisingly good, and I’m not only saying that because the front man stuck his crotch in my face.

We’re all guilty of prejudice. I decided two weeks ago that I wasn’t going to like The Used. In my mind, they were just a liquored up version of Silverchair, minus the anorexia and with a few more ball hairs: just another Gandalf’s anthem band on par with Alchaline Trio and many of the other dregs that end up in South Africa when the rest of the world has forgotten them.

Though their music was completely generican, I must commend them on an electric stage presence. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a band with such little self-consciousness. Contrary to expectation, nothing was forced. No pretentious band fashion. No attempts at gratuitous stage theatrics. Just straight up music delivered hard, with passion and sincerity.

The Used

Of course, a band is nothing without a good crowd. Though I would rather attend church than walk the halls of the ‘Grand’ Casino ever again, the fans did a great job of transforming a place where families go to die into a sloshy beer stained ‘juvi-hall’. What fun, indeed. I even met a girl who was deathly allergic to latex (there were latex gloves and condom balloons flying around). It felt like meeting a celebrity.

The three warm-up bands for the night were P.H.Fat (more like pH flat or pH zero), Lark and Fokopolisikar.

Nobody likes to play first, so I empathize with P.H.Fat for what must have been a terrifying performance. I’ve watched these guys at the Assembly, and they always manage to bring down the house. However, this time they failed to connect with their audience. There was that and the fact that I just don’t ‘get’ P.H.Fat. One song is about ‘liking animals’ and the next is about ‘fucking the universe’. I don’t think I was the only one that was confused.

The crowd seemed jaded for having to sit through four hours of warm-up routine to actually enjoy anything other than the R20 beer (and even that was pushing it).

Thankfully, Lark were sensational. It’s been four years since I last saw them play. I didn’t think they could improve, but they certainly have. A few first-timers in the audience kept remarking ‘Yoh! That chick can sing, hey?’ It’s true! Inga is barb-wire pixie chick with a set of chords that could put the likes of Jeff Buckley to shame.

The Used

Fokofpolisikar were Fokofpoliskar: high-octane, reliable, crowd-pleasing stuff. Not my thing, but hey, I guess it’s a South African staple.

Obviously, seeing as I’m obsessed with fashion, I was on the constant lookout for the worst and best outfits of the night. Let’s just say I didn’t really have to look very hard when it came to the worst. There were, however, some surprisingly stylish individuals (who were clearly lost – the Kylie concert was last month kids).

On the whole, it was an okay-ish event. The arena was barely half full by the time The Used kicked off, and I suppose that speaks volumes in itself. However, I do take my hat off to the die-hard fans that clearly couldn’t give a rat’s arse about any of that. In the end, watching them go ape was probably the most entertaining part of the evening… second only to the part where I finally got to leave.

The Used

The Used

The Used

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The Used

*All images © Jason Basson.

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RESPONSES (9)
  1. Anonymous says:

    I think you have to be under 18 to like The Used at least that’s what I gathered from the Koppi crowd that was at their show

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  2. Chad says:

    You should check out Blood Brothers. It’s the only ‘screamo’ band I will ever listen to. They really are worthwhile, though. Young Machetes is a good one, and Crimes, too. The one guy screeches like a child being tortured. It’s great. Nicely dark, psychedelic, surreal lyrics.

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  3. vibecheck says:

    Awesome review!

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  4. Wilson says:

    Harsh and awesome review. Think the only scremo band I can stand is He is Legend, dude’s play like vikings, cock-smoking vikings, but vikings none the less.

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  5. The Abused says:

    As much as a fan I am of Lark and Inge Beckmann’s voice (and what a voice!), to say she’d put Jeff Buckley’s to shame is just stupid.

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  6. pedro de pacas says:

    A pretty accurate assessment of the night. And even as a veteran Lark fan, I was amazed by their amazing performance, which really commanded the room and people’s attention… I only hope the newcomers came away knowing who they had just saw.

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  7. die says:

    Bands come to South Africa to die. Sum 41? The Used?Like the dinosaurs they are extinct and irrelevant.

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  8. Owen says:

    Shit review. Hey Mahala send someone who actually likes the band to go and review them – it’s a good start.

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  9. Urk says:

    Sorry to have to stoop so low as to remark on her posterior, but my goodness inge is blessed in many ways, not only her artistic talent. hell, you put yourself out there, i’m gonna look.
    fokof provided me with a phenomenal and highly enjoyable party. lost my shoe 3 times, found it each time. and someone else’s. thought i broke a toe. buggered my shoulder, and broke my glasses to shit. left after the 2nd used song a very happy man. the local stuff was outstanding. never used to be that way. what awonderful turnaround in local pop culture.

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