Photos by Katrina Wong Shue.
After spending many months at electronic shows, it’s nice to experience music thats riddled with raw emotion unlike anything I’ve experienced in the last little while. The Danforth Music Hall hosted The Used for two nights in celebration of the 15-year anniversary of their first two albums by playing their 2002 self-titled album for the first night and their 2004 follow up In Love and Death for the second. Both nights feature LA band New Language as an outstanding opening act that perfectly emulates the sound and energy of the celebratory main act.
Although New Language had only first formed back in April, there was something reminiscent of the days of local punk shows when I went into the music hall to see the opening band play. The boys of New Language were humble and lively and their sound hard melodic and driving. Comprised of Tyler Demorest on vocals and guitar, Matt Cohen on bass Sebastien Betley on guitar and Martin Dovail on drums, the LA based band was the sole opener for The Used on both nights. The band seemed pretty amped to be playing in Toronto with the long haired Sebastien double downing two beers before absolutely shredding on his guitar. Tyler’s humble personality shone through in between songs by telling everyone how
In between sets, the house system was playing early 2000s throwback songs like No Doubt’s Hey Baby and A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton keeping the nostalgic vibes alive.
Behind a backdrop emulating the album cover of their self-titled album, the boys from The Used came out to a roaring crowd that wouldn’t let up until long after the show finished. Bert and co walked onstage and went right into the first track, Maybe Memories and a mosh pit instantaneously appeared shortly thereafter. The crowd was elated and without saying a word, The Used frontman played with that energy, thanked everyone for being part of such a magical night and reminded how special this album is to not only himself and the band but also to everyone in attendance before going into The Taste of Ink. The night would go on in similar fashion with Bert divulging intimate tidbits about himself, the music and the like including raising a champagne glass of energy drink to celebrate his four-year sobriety in between the current outfit of Bert McCraken, Jeph Howard, Dan Whitesides and Justin Shekoski playing the entirety of The Used’s debut album to a packed to the rafters music hall that sung along to every word with the upmost passion.
Seeing one of the most inspiring rock bands fifteen years later felt as mesmerizing and memorable as it did when they had first taken the stage. Although times had definitely changed for the band and its fans, the heart and inspiration certainly lives on.