Written by Killian O’Neil
Photographed by Bryce Hall
Could you ever imagine standing in a sea of people with rain pelting down your face and all your clothes sopping wet? Mentally, at this point, you’re starting to not only feel but resemble a wet dog. If someone told me I would experience that one day, I would say, “fuck that,” and walk away. However, that is exactly how my Monday night was spent. I had the pleasure of seeing The Used play a co-headlining tour with Pierce the Veil and Don Brocco, it wasn’t my traditional way to kick off a work week, but I dug it.
The night was already off to a crazy start before I arrived at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Mother nature had a mind of her own that evening. The weather was calling for some gnarly storms, the type of storms that postpone shows. Truthfully, I thought they were going to cancel the concert, but it was a Rain or Shine event. When I finally got to the venue, the line for entry was wrapped around the building not once but twice. As I was walking up to the Stone Pony, a wave of 2006 nostalgia washed over me. A crowd of fishnets and studded belts was everywhere alongside a sea of black. The crowd was an even 50/50 split for fans of The Used and Pierce the Veil, and it was abundantly clear who was a fan of what. I knew that the night would be memorable for two essential factors: the first was a sold-out show, and the second was that the weather was already calling for torrential downpours, thunder, and lightning. The only ones crazy enough to stand in that climate are the die-hard fans. The air was cool and balmy, reminding me how it felt before a giant summer rainstorm. The fog was rolling in, in every direction, and it had been overcast the entire day; you could not spot the Sun anywhere in the sky. The only thing that was important was getting in and securing a solid spot in the crowd with a good view.
Upon entering the Summer Stage, it gave the feeling of the warped tour with the metal barricades, makeshift merch tents, and black asphalt. The only thing I was concerned with was what was the best place to stand with the incoming weather. Once my spot was secure, it took little to no time for the evening to commence. First, before anything, the venue had to address the crowd with a PSA about the weather. Staff came on the Mic and gave us directions on what to do in case an evacuation occurred, how dangerous the night could potentially be, and how to be safe. After all, this makeshift outside the venue was just a bunch of metal barricades and electronics.
Don Brocco was the first band that jumped on stage around 6:15 to start the night. Personally, I have never been so entranced by an opener in my life. All you need to know is that a British man with a curly mullet and the rest of his band knows how to get down and shred. They’re a four-piece rock band out of the UK and form like seasoned Veteriny Vets. Rob, the lead singer’s vocal registry is unlike any I have ever heard in a long time; I don’t think there’s a note he couldn’t hit. I can tell you this; Don Brocco has that extra shot of star power. This isn’t the last time we will be hearing about them in the US. Once they exited the stage, there was about a 25-minute grace period until the next band came on, which typically would have been the band, girlfriends, but due to the weather, they could not play. To my surprise, Pierce the Veil came on shortly after and played. Right before they came out, the heavens opened up and decided we all needed a bath. The rain was so heavy that I couldn’t see without squinting, and my new hoodie (now being worn) was getting rung out every few minutes because of how Saturated it was with rainwater. As soon as PTV wrapped their set, their fans exited the lot, which meant it was about time for The Used.
We were cold, we were soaking wet, and we were ready for The Used to finish out the night with a bang. The smoke went off, and the strobes started; the stage covered in pink roses and out appeared a wild Bert Mccracken center stage. Suddenly, the Intro to “Take it Away” started emulating from the speakers. Everyone erupted in unison when they heard Bert sing the first note. The crowd was singing at the top of their lungs; remember, it was still raining as the concert continued. At least now The Used was playing, so it made the rain disappear and being wet more tolerable. Bert was without shoes and roaring to talk about how it was “squishy” under his feet on stage. He also told us that he wanted to have “Unprotected sex with each and every one of us,” and that made everyone need to change their panties. Their set list for the evening consisted of all fan favorites, “The Bird and the Worm,” “I Caught Fire,” “The Taste of Ink,” “I’m A Fake,” “Pretty Handsome Adventures,” and “Box Full of Sharp Objects.” In addition, they also played two of their new songs, “Give Up and Fuck You, “which the crowd seemed to know every lyric to as well. My favorite part of the night was Bert brought up Rob Damiani from Don Brocco to do “A Box Full of Sharp Objects” with him. Bert and Rob together on stage is something that I hope to see again. They have great chemistry and complement each other very well. Rob’s screaming blends in with Bert’s singing so perfectly that you can hardly tell it’s two people doing a duet. They closed the show strong with “Pretty Handsome Awkward,” and a circle pit formed in the crowd.
There were a few hiccups during the night with the weather, but that’s what made Monday night so much fun, the unexpected. I couldn’t tell you another band I willingly would stand outside in teaming rain for, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. The Used always brings love and authentic energy to every show they play, and they can see it on stage. Tonight was yet again another one for the books.
Pierce the Veil