Pairing up The Used and Chevelle was an interesting choice for a tour package, and even though it certainly didn’t bomb, it wasn’t quite as successful as one would’ve hoped.
Both bands received nearly constant airplay during the early 2000’s. They both broke through to achieve mainstream success in 2002, The Used with “Taste of Ink” and Chevelle with “The Red” but after that, the similarities seem to be almost non-existent.
One of the few things that did make sense for this tour was the decision to include UK rockers Marmozets. Industry politics aside, the night would’ve felt much more natural had either Chevelle or The Used opened the show, allowing for Marmozets to bridge the gap between styles, thus making the transition a bit more organic. Marmozets have the bright, spunky, kick-in-the-teeth flair of The Used, but also bring in the slightly more understated enveloping darkness of Chevelle.
Lead singer Becca Macintyre held an easy command of the crowd and had fun interacting with fans from stage. Midway through their set she introduced the band and mentioned that they’re comprised of two sets of siblings- Becca, Sam (guitar) and Josh (drums) are siblings, and Jack (guitar) and Will (bass) Bottomley are siblings.
By their final song, “Why Do You Hate Me?” which features dueling guitars and brutal screams from Becca Macintyre, it was clear they had more than won over the members of the crowd who weren’t previously familiar with them.
After a short break the stage was set for The Used, stacks of televisions aglow, featuring crossed out faces of influential political and social figures (taken from the artwork from their politically-charged 2014 release Imaginary Enemy). The band played the opening notes of 2002’s “Maybe Memories” as lead singer Bert McCracken leapt to the center of the stage.
As Maybe Memories died down the band didn’t go in to the snippet of Refused’s “New Noise” as they normally do. Instead, it appeared as though McCracken was dealing with some technical difficulties as he spent a minute or so with a tech at the center of the stage.
The band quickly recovered from the momentary snafu as they moved in to one of their most energetic songs, “Take It Away” off 2004’s In Love and Death. Bert stood with his back to the crowd and spewed water high into the air, prompting screams and cheers from the crowd.
Earlier this year guitarist Quinn Allman mentioned he would be taking a leave of absence and would be replaced by Saosin guitarist Justin Shekoski. Allman’s absence was evident during classics such as “Taste of Ink” as Shekoski’s vocals are noticeably higher, but overall Shekoski did a phenomenal job of filling in overall.
McCracken brought a young man on stage to help introduce “All That I’ve Got” before leading him to the drum riser, where he would remain for the rest of the song. Drummer Dan Whitesides handed him a drumstick, which he used to hit the cymbal on beat. Occasionally McCracken would venture over to the boy and try to get him to sing, but he would shyly shake his head and smile. Whether the kid was there for Chevelle and wasn’t sure of the words, or simply didn’t want to scream “fuck me!” during a prominent part of the song will never be known, but both McCracken and the boy were good sports.
Towards the end of the set McCracken and Shekoski stood alone on the stage with just an acoustic guitar and moody lighting as they played the fan-favorite “On My Own.” It was during this song that the awkwardness of the tour package was most keenly felt. Fans play a major role in the performance of the song; whether it’s singing along or taking part in the massive yells scattered throughout the song, fan participation is what makes it special.
I don’t doubt that many Chevelle fans enjoy The Used, but the “failure” of “On My Own” in Indy makes me wonder if those fans know The Used well enough to know the words to deeper cuts.
When the band closed out their set with a medley of Box of Sharp Objects mixed together with “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing in the Name Of” the crowd exploded with energy and was eager to sing along. It seems as though the audience enjoyed the band’s set, they just didn’t know the words well enough to participate most of the night.
At long last, Chevelle exploded on to the stage with “Ouija Board,” the opening track of 2014’s La Gargola. The massive stage looked surprisingly empty as the three band members were dwarfed by the space, and their own sound. Chevelle’s live sound is so massive and robust that it boggles the mind to realize they’re only a 3-piece band. While this is certainly impressive, it leaves something to be desired when it comes to their live show, as lead singer Pete Loeffeler and bassist Dean Barnardini stand alone at the front of the stage, often unable to move very far.
There was hardly any interaction between band members but both Loeffeler and Bernardini spent a fair amount of time interacting with the crowd. Bernardini often toed the edge of the stage, getting as close to the crowd as possible, and Loeffeler made faces to fans in the audience.
The band played through an impressive roster of hits, including “The Clincher,” “Send The Pain Below,” “Vitamin R,” and their breakthrough single “The Red.” The echo of fans singing “The Red” was absolutely overwhelming, so much so that it nearly blew the roof off Old National Centre’s Egyptian Room.
All in all it was a strange, although still impressive, night. Each band left everything they had on the stage and gave fans an incredible show, but at the same time it always felt slightly out of step- the energy took a long time to find its stride due to the different styles of the artists and fans. You win some, you lose some, and then there are some that just fall somewhere in the middle, which is right about where I’d put this show.
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