Despite lacking their usual stage presence and some misjudged backing vocals, this acoustic arrangement of The Used’s back catalogue highlights is a 15th anniversary gift for hardcore fans, but for newer converts a more confusing affair.
The crowd screams and occasional bum note of ‘Tunnel’ start on the wrong foot, but before long ‘The Taste Of Ink’ speaks volumes for the enduring success of the band that insistently raise a middle finger to injustice. The haunting, meandering ‘All That I’ve Got’ displays frontman Bert McCracken’s vocal versatility right down to the last note, dedicating the track to the emotional whirlwind the band conquered through their second album ‘In Love and Death’.
New fans may find Bert’s lengthy stage banter rather pointless, but to the veterans they prove a priceless insight into a band that’s shaped the emo scene since 2001. In homage also to their heroes, a true-to-track rendition of John Lennon classic ‘Imagine’ proves a welcome addition as Bert’s vocal anti-political sentiments shape their shows these days.
Fan favourite ‘The Bird and the Worm’ proves even the band are astounded at how well their music carries into the acoustic realm. That said, the backing singers need a swift kick stage left, even the crowd sings along to ‘Paralyzed’ and ‘Overdose’ in the right key when they fail to.
Heavy hits ‘Paralyzed’ and ‘Lunacy Fringe’ demonstrate the band’s acoustic brand of chaos, but the sorrow of ‘All That I’ve Got’ and ‘Blue and Yellow’ shine most beautifully in this environment. Packing tear-jerking emotion in swathes, closer ‘On My Own’ benefits from Dan Whitesides’ commanding drums that flow seamlessly alongside gut-wrenching screams.
If you’ve waited 1.5 decades to hear The Used play your favourites with an acoustic twist, this is the gift that keeps on giving… providing you can ignore the backing singers.
’Live and Acoustic At The Palace’ by The Used is released on 1st April.
Words by Ali Cooper (@AliZombie_)