WORDS BY DAVID TAYLOR AND PHOTOS BY REAGAN JOHNSON | Go Venue Magazine
On Saturday, September 23, Steelhouse Omaha housed The Used’s headlining tour, in support of their latest album, Toxic Positivity, with Sleeping with Sirens and Dead American. Tons of people packed the Steelhouse, even seeing a good amount of parents taking their kids to the show. Times are a changing, folks. What was once new is now old.
Dead American from SoCal opened up the show. Fronted by former Saosin vocalist Cove Reber, I think they did a pretty good job warming the crowd up for the next two bands. They kept the energy going, throwing it down hard. Cove blended his screaming and singing very well. I believe the audience enjoyed what they saw. Check out their new album, New Nostalgia, which came out last year.
Sleeping With Sirens from Orlando was the direct support. I have had a good awareness of this band since I was in high school, so it was a long time coming for me to finally check these guys out live. I knew lead vocalist Kellin Quinn was a powerhouse on record, but seeing him live was incredible. He was encouraging everyone to go off as this was a punk rock show. He’s this generation’s Frankie Valli, just hitting those high notes like nobody’s business. The whole band sounded tight. Their fanbase is very passionate, singing along to every word. As I mentioned earlier, it was cool seeing these young kids get into their music through their millennial parents. During “Better Off Dead”, they had this moment where they all stood together to finish the song, which was a nice touch showing that they really like each other. They finished with their signature song, “If You Can’t Hang”, which really got the crowd popped off. Be sure to check out their latest release, Complete Collapse.
And finally, Utah’s own The Used were ready to hit the Steelhouse stage. These guys have been grinding it hard since the early 2000s, so I’m always impressed that a band with that longevity like that still out there touring the world. Lead vocalist Bert McCracken is a madman on stage, in the best sense. The screams and clean vocals coming out from him were unreal and even cracked some jokes. Instead of saying “love you”, The Used prefer to say “f*** you”, as a sign of respect, a dark sense of humor they had. The Used has been one of the most influential bands from the alternative scene of the 2000s, paving the way for so many bands now that have it made. And that was shown throughout the set. They kicked off their set with a banger of a song, “Pretty Handsome Awkward”. The audience was singing to every song. Bert demanded a mosh pit and got one. There were a lot of decorative flowers on stage, very aesthetically pleasing. They ended their main set with probably their biggest hit, “The Taste of Ink”, a singalong for the ages. They came back onstage and played a three-song encore, with them ending their set with “A Box Full of Sharp Objects”, bringing Kellin Quinn back onstage to help sing and close out the night. And then Kellin Quinn crowd-surfed when they went into their abridged cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” during the outro. What an amazing nostalgic and lively night for music in downtown Omaha. People got to relive their teenage years, while younger kids got to live in the moment. I hope the Steelhouse keeps on booking shows like this one because it was a blast.
Sleeping with Sirens