I love what the Take Action tour does. I love the whole concept behind it, I support it 100%. So many people don't take teen suicide seriously until it's too late. If someone says, even nonchalantly, that they want to kill themselves or hurt themselves, tell someone. Don't stay quiet on something that could end up haunting you for the rest of your life. The national suicide prevention lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. It's completely anonymous and totally free.
The Used is, in my opinion, the perfect band to headline this tour. Much of their music deals with suicide and self-harm and so many teens have found a hand to hold in The Used. Front man Bert McCracken has come out publicly about his struggles with drug abuse, relationships, suicidal tendencies and self-harm, and he's also come out about how he's better now -- and part of the reason being because of music. Take Action tour couldn't have picked a better headliner.
The Used might want to rethink their decision to make We Came As Romans one of their openers though. This tour is about unity and awareness and not being alone anymore. We Came As Romans seem to think that this is all about them becoming rock stars.
Before the show, WCAR met with the VIP ticket holders for an exclusive meet and greet. Couldn't they have held that at another place other than the merch table in front of everyone else? The floor ticket holders were crowded -- not too crowded mind you -- around the band's table and some were waving and saying hello to various members. We Came As Romans completely ignored them and some members were even rolling their eyes at them. Even the VIP ticket holders were seemingly rushed through with barely enough time to say hello and get an autograph. I really felt the unity and love in that room! There was a very distinct feeling of 'This is US and you are over THERE, AWAY from US.' The only one who seemed to even want to be out there was their rough vocalist, David Stephens, who really seemed like a nice guy.
Mindflow from Brazil was up first. They must be a new-ish because they didn't really seem to have a ton of stage presence. They all just kind of stood in one place -- even vocalist Danilo Herbert who paced around about a five foot square -- and that's it. Their bass player, Ricardo Winandy was fantastic and his extreme head banging was very entertaining to watch. Guitarist Rodrigo Hidalgo seemed to be more interested in making orgasm faces at his guitar than in interacting with anyone else. I almost felt like they needed to get him a room. Calm down man, no one else was as impressed with your playing as you obviously are.
Crown the Empire were awesome. They were an explosion of energy, sound and feeling. This band was exactly what I was looking forward to with this tour. There was no feeling of a line drawn between the band and audience, it seemed like the band was always five seconds away from joining the audience, actually. Watching them perform was like they grabbed you by the head and dragged you into this amazing show, no, world of theirs. They were very crowd-engaging and just seemed like they absolutely love what they do. I didn't want their set to end and was a bit sad to see them go, especially for who came next.
I was already disgusted by the way We Came As Romans treated their fans before the show, so I wasn't exactly jumping for joy to see them take the stage. I can't knock their talent though; everyone except their clean vocalist, Kyle Pavone, put on a fantastic show. Pavone seemed to be nothing more than a studio singer. Maybe he was sick, though; I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, and maybe he doesn't suck normally as bad as he did Sunday night. He was horribly off-key and it was cringe-inducing. Also, when he went into the crowd, he was pushing people's hands off of him. It's not like the crowd was grabbing at his crotch or trying to yank off his pants, he was pushing them off of his lower legs. If you don't want your fans to touch you, don't go in the crowd you [insert the more colorful word of your choice here]. Rough vocalist David Stephens was particularly splendid, and his offer to the crowd to come meet the band after the show redeemed his band slightly in my eyes. Just slightly though.
If you had told my six-year-old self that I was going to see The Used in a just over a decade's time, I probably would have cried, that's how much I love this band. I had a few things I wanted to see from The Used before I actually saw them: I wanted to see if bassist Jeph Howard's bass really glowed orange in the dark, I wanted to hear Bert McCracken cuss out the crowd (he does it with love), and I wanted to hear The Used play "Box Full of Sharp Objects." The song is from their 2002 debut so I didn't have high hopes that I would hear it, but all of my dreams came true! It was just like a fairytale! Just kidding; I'm not that crazy.
Streamlined chaos is how The Used performs. They always seem to be on the brink of exploding but they never quite go over the edge. Bert McCracken was weird and wonderful in every way I hoped he would be live. His manic way of performing was everything I'd heard of. Some people near me said they were upset that Bert wasn't doing all of his screams himself live, but hello? The guy has been performing for twelve years while keeping up a pretty intense cigarette habit throughout. Be happy that he can still scream as much as he does. I really liked Jeph's raspy, deeper screams offsetting Bert's spine-tingling howl and guitarist Quinn Allman's higher, but eerily like Bert's, screams too. It allowed for the band to give more of their own individual sounds to the songs. The Used's members were born to play music and I thank my lucky stars that I was able to witness such a dynamic and amazing show.Show wrap-up: Mindflow: could be good with a lot of work; Crown the Empire: tremendous, part of the future of metal I say; We Came As Romans: get their egos in check and maybe they could be something; The Used: remarkable and marvelous as ever.