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The Used @ The Electric Factory with The New Regime.

May 9, 2016


Text by McCall Cox. Images by Sydney Schaefer.

The Used played a two night engagement at the Electric Factory last week to celebrate the band’s 15 year anniversary, with touring support from The New Regime.

The New Regime opened the first night at 8 p.m., producing a wall from the three-piece act. The band features Ilan Rubin on vocals and guitar, brother Daniel Rubin on bass and Hayden Scott on drums.

“Thank you for joining us,” Ilan Rubin greeted the crowd after the first song. “We are extremely excited to be back in Philly.”

He added that on the band’s previous tour, they performed at Johnny Brenda’s.

The trio originates from San Diego, and they bring a unique sound with them that plays on all variations of rock. The New Regime originally began in 2009 as Ilan Rubin’s solo project.

“I imagine that most of you have never heard of us before, which is actually fantastic,” Ilan Rubin said, explaining how exciting it is to play to new audiences. “We know we’re a bit different but we hope you enjoy it. Music is supposed to be something fun and different so we hope you like it.”

The New Regime performed songs such as “Don’t Chase It,” “Say What You Will” and “Strong Arm Tomorrow.”

Ilan Rubin also excited the crowd for The Used, while expressing his gratitude toward the band.

“The Used have been great enough to bring us along,” he said.“So we wanna give The Used a big, ol’ thanks.”

The first night of the shows was devoted to The Used’s first, self-titled album. The stage was decorated with naked mannequins bearing black X’s and other markings, designed to resemble the artwork of the first album.

Red flashing lights and a wailing siren announced the band’s arrival, with singer Bert McCracken waving a flag on stage. The band went directly into the first track of their debut album, “Maybe Memories.”

The quartet features Bert McCracken on vocals, Justin Shekoski on guitar, Dan Whitesides on drums and Jeph Howard on bass. They originally formed in Utah in 2001.

“These albums, these records, are bigger than the four of us on stage,” McCracken said. “It’s really about our life—our life story. If you feel like you grew up with The Used, then I’m right there with you. These are my stories as well as yours.”

Before beginning “The Taste of Ink,” he continued, “One thing that I’ve seen with my very own eyes is the impact music has on this planet and how it really changes peoples’ lives forever. So if you believe like I believe, Pennsylvania, that music really can and does change this fucked up world that we live in, then please put your hands in the air with me.”

McCracken said that he wrote the lyrics to the next song, “Bulimic,” after being in a very broken and abusive relationship.

“I want to really take a moment tonight with each of these songs and kind of think back to where I was and maybe where you were when you first heard these songs,” he said. “I want to remind everyone that at a Used show, we insist that you be your childlike-selves once again. Make sure you remember that nobody in here is gonna judge you or try to fucking fight you.”

McCracken said that when he was growing up, music wasn’t the biggest part of his life. It was my religion. He then explained that their song “Poetic Tragedy” was originally a poem.

“I think this poem and this song are really about how fragile life is,” he said. “IAnd if there’s people out there who you love, I strongly suggest you take the time to tell them you love them before it’s too late. So Philadelphia, from my balls—from my heart and my balls—I love you. I have to tell you that before it’s too late.”

McCracken later took a moment to discuss the reactions and stories fans have related to The Used’s freshman and sophomore albums.

“People say that they grew up with these first two records,” he said. “They made me who I am today. We hear a lot that these first two records saved someone’s life. I want you to know that that is my story as well. These first two records have saved my life over and over again.”

“And if you don’t know how that works, it’s really simple: when you start to feel like you can’t live on this planet anymore, just put on your favorite record from your favorite bands and you wait until tomorrow. I guarantee you, the next day you’re going to feel different. And if you don’t, put on those records again and wait till the next day. This life is worth living Philly. You can fucking cheer for that. In our lives, this music is fucking everything.”

McCracken added that the next song, “On My Own,” was about the power of music to overcome any other aspect of life, like war and religion.

“I have to really, as sincerely as I possibly can—I have to thank the hardcore Used fans for sticking around,” McCracken said. “Let us consider this the beginning of another fucking beautiful 15 years to come. I hope you have all had the best time of your life and I hope you made some tangible memories that might last. Until tomorrow night, we love you. And we are The fucking Used.”

The Used closed with the final track of the self titled album, “Pieces Mended,” reappearing for an encore of the song “Choke Me,” which is found as a hidden track at the end of the album.

The New Regime warmed up the crowd for the second night as well, with their alternative rock songs featuring piano intros and guitar solos.

“For those of you who were here last night, we’re going to change things up a little,” Ilan Rubin said of the setlist after introducing the band. “For those of you who weren’t, it’s so nice to meet you.”

The New Regime played a mix of new songs as well as tracks that were performed the night before. The band’s setlist included songs such as “We Rise, We Fall,” “Mannequin,” “Say What You Will” and “Daydream.”

“Where were you guys last night?” Ilan Rubin asked of the crowd, joking about how much more enthusiastic the crowd was on the second night.

“Tonight marks the halfway point of the tour and we’re having an incredible time and that’s because of you,” he added.

The second night of the tour was dedicated to the second album The Used produced, In Love and Death. The stage was adorned with a large red heart strung up on a gnarled, white tree—the iconic cover artwork for the sophomore album.

As the lights dimmed, a red light flashed in the heart to mimic a heartbeat, gradually building until The Used appeared on stage, beginning immediately with the record’s first track, “Take It Away.”

“Thank you very much Philadelphia for helping us celebrate 15 beautiful years,” McCracken said after the first song. “Welcome to night two! This is In Love And Death.”

“Since this is a love song, let’s start things off with a little bit of love,” McCracken said. “I want you to put both arms up in the air and, like we’re all 14 and on our first date. I want you to put your arms around the people next to you—like it’s one big, giant hug. Do you feel the love in this room? Let’s burn this fucking place to the ground.”

And the end of the emotional set, McCracken thanked the Electric Factory crowd once again, saying, “This has always been and will always be one of my favorite places in the world to play. I hope everyone has had as much fun as I’ve had. I’ve had an absolute blast. Now that I’m positive that there are numerous dedicated, die-hard fans here, I’m going to fully trust in you guys that you know this poem by heart.”

McCracken then began reciting the poem that prefaces the last track of the album, “I’m A Fake.”

The Used rejoined the stage for a one-song encore of “Pretty Handsome Awkward,” from their album Lies For The Liars.

“Before we leave, let’s split this crowd down the middle,” McCracken said, preparing the audience for the “Wall of Death” and asking the crowd to “run at each other like a bunch of fucking wild animals.”

“We love you guys. Please take care of each other. Peace,” said McCracken at the end of the show, throwing a peace sign to the audience before exiting the stage.

Following the show, The New Regime said it has been enjoyable to tour alongside The Used.

“It’s been awesome,”Daniel Rubin said. “The bands are mellow and everyone gets along. It’s very easy and nice.”

When asked after the show about how it feels to celebrate 15 years of music, McCracken was quietly humbled by the experience of it all.

“It’s fantastic,”he said. “We’ve seen a lot of bands come and go so to still be able to play shows with so much love and support? It’s humbling. Another 15 years of music? Of course.”


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