Concert review: The Used w/ Sleeping With Sirens and Dead American | 09.22.23, Saint Louis Music Park (with photo gallery)

Photo of Bert McCracken of the Used by Jen Ruff

Emo is NOT dead, ever.

I recall exactly where I was when I first heard what would be branded “emo” music. VH1 held a Big in ‘05 event where Fall Out Boy would so epically play the now classic “Sugar, We’re Going Down.” It was a game changer. At my older age, I don’t like the term a whole lot. It minimizes music that has allowed mostly males to be able to express their emotions so beautifully and look quite amazing while doing so.

The evening at Saint Louis Music Park couldn’t have asked for better weather for an outdoor show. While crowded, it wasn’t too jam packed to be uncomfortable, which isn’t always the case.

Dead American started the show as the crowd filled in. Having seen hundreds of opening acts with varying degrees of engagement, the Southern Cali guys brought the energy needed to start such an epic co-headlining show. For us old school scene kids who have spent years missing Warped Tour, vocalist Cove Reber and the other talented band members really delivered. The seven-song set wasn’t enough for me but I know for sure I will see them should they return to our city.

Sleeping With Sirens have influenced music since early 2010, and with much success. During their set, frontman Kellin Quinn described how “The Taste of Ink” by the Used was a song that saved him and it was evident from the crowd that there were more than a few of ‘Sirens tracks that saved many. The screams to every lyric gave me chills as I thoroughly enjoy watching fans who give their all back to a band via live performance and the STL crowd GAVE and gave!

And then emo elite the Used took the stage to earth shattering screams and applause. A great career spanning 23 years so far without breaking up or quitting music gave us over 90 minutes of hits across each of the band’s releases. Vocalist Bert McCracken would insert humor between songs and also spoke to the heart of what this music is all about: EMOtion. Speaking transparently on an 11-year celebration of sobriety—and candidly on struggles with depression and anxiety—tugged at the heart inside of so many, as the road of life stops us all with similar struggles. It felt like an apt time to get into a few ballads and none fit more than “I Caught Fire.” With the announcement of that song and the firing of cannons full of paper heart confetti, more than a few groups throughout the venue held onto those close to them. And then as quick as the solace calmed us, the real bangers of the show followed to the end. From the aforementioned “Taste of Ink” to “I’m a Fake” to the the encore of “A Box Full of Sharp Objects”—which melds so well into a cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”—the Used exemplified why they sit atop of this genre to this day. As a longtime fan, I left feeling complete and whole, taking such a stroll back to my car, feeling like it was Sunday and I’d just left a spiritual event, and no one is able to convince me otherwise. | Diane Ruff

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *