The Used – Manchester Academy 1

The Used have already had their fair share of shit times in recent months, so you'd think they deserve a break. Guess the start of a European tour is the wrong time for that ...

It’s not looking good. Last week, The Used and their support band Head Automatica touched down in the UK and instantly rumours began to circulate that Daryl Palumbo was back in hospital again with another attack of Crohn’s Disease. Rumours became official and the band dropped out, replaced by Northern noisenik buzz-band Yourcodenameis:milo. Then after the Dublin show, angry posts start appearing on The Used’s official messageboard complaining about the band’s 45 minute set. As starts to European tours go, well, let’s just say it could have been better…

Yourcodenameis:milo have little to lose with a crowd sold-out before their addition to this bill was even conceived, but they play out of their skins, weaving Albini-esque fret-insanity with thundering riffs; their magnetic frontman’s white NHS specs and electro-shock therapy moves giving him the air of the bastard offspring of Dame Edna Everage and a nuclear physicist.

The Used, however, have a greater weight on their shoulders. Which makes it all the more satisfying when they storm onstage, grab the mic and proceed to rip the Academy 1 in half with a searing rendition of ‘Take It Away’. Old favorites, like the soothing ‘Blue and Yellow’, and new masterpieces like the poppier ‘All That I’ve Got’ are greeted with the rabidity of hungry dogs; although Quinn Allman’s understated genius axework and Jeph Howard’s quite frankly sexual bass playing is far more than the emo kid crowd deserve (or are old enough to see, in the case of the latter).

After years of being the underdogs on their local scene, The Used made the rough start to this European jaunt seem like a short bout of in-flight turbulence. Bert McCracken’s triumphant shit-eating grin says it all; go on as you meant to start.