The Used at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA

The Used's sold-out performance was held at the Orange County Observatory bringing hardcore fans out on a windy Monday night. The venue was the perfect environment for an intimate, mosh pitting crowd. Two words you don’t normally find together: intimate and mosh pit but that’s exactly what The Used was able to do as they integrated heavy, hard-hitting songs along with a few softer tracks and moments of candid personal stories in-between.

Before the band took to the stage, the crowd was introduced to Lowlives, a post-hardcore band who opened the stage with a hearty eight set song list. The band of four, got the crowd thoroughly warmed up and the anticipation for The Used grew during the 45-minute set.

When the curtains parted after a 30-minute intermission, the audience was greeted by The Used standing in front of an impressive colorful lighting display. With a quick bow to the audience, the band started off their set with, ‘Take It Away’ followed by ‘Bird and Worm’ and an old classic ‘Box Full of Sharp Objects’. The band then went on to perform “Raise the Lights”, a track off the recently released album, The Canyon. Unlike anything the band has ever put out before, the Canyon is full of raw and stripped-down emotion which lead singer Bert McCracken was able to bring to the stage.

He sipped his tea from a Dixie cup as he expressed his gratitude for the fans. It was then that he shared the news of celebrating 5 and ½ years of sobriety and the fans cheered with enthusiasm. With an outpouring of love from the audience, Bert stood in front of the stage with his arms wide open and then clutched his hands close to his chest as he took in all that energy from his fans.

The band went on to play with even more fury and a large mosh pit overtook the entire floor as "All That I’ve Got" and "Taste of Ink" was performed. Without missing a beat, the band continued with songs, ‘"Over and Over" and "Listening."

Turning to the crowd once more, Bert introduced the next song they would be performing called, ‘About You (No Songs Left to Sing)’. Written in memory of his best friend Tregen Lewis, who committed suicide last year, the song is as raw as it gets. The auditorium fell silent as the band poured their heart into the performance. The words, “Id give anything just to hear you speak my name” resonated through the arena and you could feel the energy in the room change as the band connected with every single person in attendance.

The band finished off the rest of their set with ‘I Caught Fire’, ‘Selfies in Aleppo’, and ‘Pretty Handsome’. Leaving the crowd with some parting words, Bert expressed, “Music is my religion, when things are bad I can always turn to it.” He spoke of how it heals, and how it saves. The band came back to the stage for one more song, and closed out the evening with ‘Maybe Memories’, the perfect conclusion to an emotional and fun evening.

Photos by Heather Knoepp