For those of you who aren’t familiar with Manhattan, Roseland Ballroom is located in what might be the least desirable part of town possible, just north of Times Square in an area that attracts visitors, lowlifes and, well, not much else. Monday night around eight o’clock, I exited the N train and was assaulted by an army of flashing neon, hip-pack toting tourists and Irish-themed sports bars lit up with images of Monday Night Football. After finally making it over to Roseland, I entered the club just in time to catch the first notes from the opening act, the Bled.

Fresh off a successful jaunt on the Projekt Revolution Tour, the band looked like they were inciting a riot on the floor as masses of concertgoers let out their week’s worth of aggression on each other in a brutally violent pit. In addition to playing songs from the band’s catalog, the Bled also premiered the song “Shadetree Mechanics” from their forthcoming release Silent Treatment, which merged the band’s characteristic brand of aggression with more subtle melodic flourishes—and judging by the crowd’s emphatic reaction, the kids seemed to be digging the new material.

After a quick stage turnover, the lights dimmed and the Used hit the stage. While most bands of their caliber tend to drape everything onstage with their logo and likeness, the Used had a barebones set-up and no banners to speak of, preferring to let their music do the talking—and did it ever. Early on in the set, frontman Bert McCracken asked if there were any liars in the audience before Gibson SG-toting guitarist Quinn Allman launched into an explosive rendition of “Liar Liar (Burn In Hell),” one of the singles off the band’s latest album Lies for the Liar. However, that doesn’t mean that the band didn’t revisit their back catalog and the response they got when they launched into “The Taste of Ink,” the breakthrough single from their self-titled 2002 debut was deafening.

After this track ended, I went downstairs to grab a beer but was informed that the bar was already closed at 10 p.m. Luckily, I ran into my good friend Ed, who is a tour manager for the Bled, and he told me that I could duck onto their tour bus for a quick drink. However, the second he walked me backstage so we could cut through to get outside an overzealous security guard started screaming at me, saying that my photo pass wouldn’t allow me backstage. Ed said something to him and the security guard escorted us outside, which I thought he was doing just to be friendly—but apparently he was kicking me out. The resulting effect was a 10-minute conversation between Ed and a team of security guards who finally backed off and allowed me to keep my pass. Phew.

I jumped on the bus and pounded a cold one and hung out with the guys in the Bled, then walked back into the venue by claiming I was a photographer (hence the pass) who had just deposited my photo equipment in the car. Thankfully, the woman working the door seemed too uninterested to bother arguing with me. The Used finished out their set strong with some more new material and said goodnight to their fans. However, for many of us, the night was only just beginning.


The afterparty for the show was held at Revolver, a club in Manhattan’s lovely Lower East Side. Belvedere Vodka sponsored the event, so everyone was already pretty tipsy by the time I arrived. Honestly, a large section of the end of the evening is a blur, but I do remember the DJ playing everything from Operation Ivy to Goldfinger in addition to the typical dancefloor anthems—and I also remember Bert from the Used jumping around with his girlfriend like a hyperactive six year old. Trust me, I mean that in the best way possible. I also ran into Howard Jones the singer for Killswitch Engage and managed to catch up with him, which was a nice surprise.

Unfortunately, all good things must end—and despite the fact that the bartenders were doing shots and mingling with us all night, they had to kick us out of the bar at 4 a.m. At this point I was too tired to protest and I loaded myself into a cab and headed across the Williamsburg Bridge while everyone else headed back to their idling tour buses. All in all, I’d say it was a pretty good night and although I missed a bulk of the actual performances, I’d argue that I had a successful concert-going experience by even the most stringent standards. Next time, I’ll just exit out of the front door of the Roseland if I need to venture outside. Live and learn, right? 



First photo:  Used bassist Jeph Howard and vocalist Bert McCracken (left) with friends 
Second photo: McCracken, Howard and drummer Dan Whitesides (right) with friends 

Photo Credit: Justin Borucki