Live Review: The Used and The New Regime – O2 Kentish Town Forum, London – 22/02/2016

What better way for The Used to celebrate 15 years in front of the amps than by performing their self-titled debut in its full intended form to a packed Kentish Town Forum.

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The New Regime are a curious support choice, bearing a drastically different aesthetic and musical atmosphere than their headliners. Initiating an overly lengthy instrumental intro track, three members surprisingly take to the stage in contrast with the expected solo performance from Ilan Rubin, an occasional drummer for Nine Inch Nails and Lostprophets, as this project is credited as his solo effort wielding a guitar as opposed to sticks.

None of the trio’s classic rocking attempts drag the majority of the crowd from the bar. It’s not to say that The New Regime are dull, more so that their act doesn’t fit the bill. With punchy bass lines and Ilan’s determined solos entangled with occasional techno backing tracks, it’s an act that seems more hastily clobbered together than expertly manipulated. Ilan’s vocals are vibrant but the required personality falls by the wayside, making each track appear just a little too drawn-out and tiresome. (2/5)

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The Used are consistent masters of manipulation, splitting every record equally between heavy and softer sentiments. While heartbreaking fan favourite ‘Blue and Yellow’ is laced with tears, ‘Box Full Of Sharp Objects’ charges rage-laden air punching as this set proves a worthy reminder that the alternative scene of 2002 was a stellar year to be alive. Contemplative odes ‘Poetic Tragedy’ and ‘Greener With The Scenery’ receive their flawless live debuts to rapturous cheers, while familiar belter ‘The Taste of Ink’ and soulful ‘On My Own’ prove their consummate artistry with Bert’s astounding vocals, gut-wrenching lyrics and cracking guitar leads.

That said, their act desperately misses original guitarist Quinn Allman, as although Justin Shekoski brings great talent, he simply lacks Quinn’s personality and cheeky grins. Swathed in spotlights, Bert pauses to remind those present that The Used fully intend to survive another 15 years together, yet it’s hard to believe their longevity will survive the loss of such an iconic guitarist. While hardcore Used veterans lap up Bert’s quirky personal chatter between songs, it’s evident those less initiated in his ways have lost their patience.

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The catharsis of plunging into long since buried emotional trauma proves an electric crowd pleaser as these 15-year-old memories surface under the intense lighting of the Forum. The obvious hostility of a half-seated-half-standing venue, however, steals the sparkle from this otherwise great showcase of everything that got The Used to where they are now. However long their lifeline lasts beyond this point is out of the crowd’s control, but it seems to be in safe hands up on stage in the revival of songs this audience are grateful to hear live for the first time. (4/5)


The Used links: Website|Facebook|Twitter

Words by Ali Cooper (@AliZombie_). Photos by Connie Taylor Photography.


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