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Emo Legends Reignite: The Used Electrifies Toyota Oakdale Theater


Photo: Jared Miller

On July 2 2024, the walls of the Toyota Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, CT, reverberated with the raw, emotive energy of The Used, a band that has been a staple in the post-hardcore and emo scenes since their formation in 2001. With their blend of aggressive rock and introspective lyrics, The Used has consistently captivated audiences worldwide, and last night was no exception.


The Used hails from Orem, Utah, and quickly rose to prominence with their self-titled debut album in 2002. Known for their emotionally charged music, the band has seen various lineup changes over the years but has always remained true to their core sound. Current members include frontman Bert McCracken, bassist Jeph Howard, drummer Dan Whitesides, and guitarist Joey Bradford. Their extensive discography includes fan-favorite tracks from albums like "In Love and Death," "Lies for the Liars," and "Heartwork."



From the moment the lights dimmed and the first chords of "Pretty Handsome Awkward" rang out, the crowd was enveloped in a wave of nostalgia and excitement. Bert McCracken's voice, a perfect blend of angst and melody, immediately drew everyone into the band's whirlwind of sound. His stage presence is as magnetic as ever, commanding the audience with both vulnerability and raw power.


"Say Days Ago" and "Buried Myself Alive" transported the crowd back to the early 2000s, a time when The Used was the soundtrack to many fans' turbulent adolescences. The energy in the theater was palpable as the audience sang along, word for word, to every line.



As the night progressed, the setlist showcased the band's evolution, with newer tracks like "Blow Me" and "MEDZ" fitting seamlessly alongside classics like "Let it Bleed" and "The Bird and the Worm." Each song was delivered with an intensity that spoke to the band's commitment to their craft and their fans. The inclusion of "Fuck You" was a bold move that resonated well, reflecting the band's unfiltered approach to their music and message.


Highlights of the evening included the hauntingly beautiful "Blue & Yellow," where the entire theater was illuminated by a sea of cell phone lights, and "The Taste Of Ink," a song that has become an anthem for many. The connection between the band and their fans was undeniable, each lyric a shared catharsis.


Photos: Jared Miller


The encore was nothing short of spectacular. "On My Own" brought a moment of introspective calm, only to be followed by the explosive "I'm a Fake" and the frenetic "A Box Full of Sharp Objects." By the end of the night, the audience was left exhilarated, each person carrying a piece of the experience home with them.


The Used showed why they’re still a big deal in their genre. Their show at the Toyota Oakdale Theater highlighted how they remain relevant and deeply connected with their fans. As the final notes played, it was clear that The Used’s story isn’t finished rocking.


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