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POP MUSIC REVIEW

Singer takes Used to manic heights

March 25, 2003|Lina Lecaro | Special to The Times

While droves of fans were stuck outside the Used's sold-out show Friday at the Henry Fonda Theatre because of a Fire Department capacity crackdown, those who did get in witnessed one of the most explosive groups to emerge from the emo/pop-punk onslaught in some time.

The Utah band may have garnered attention with singer Bert McKracken's appearances on "The Osbournes" (he dated Kelly Osbourne), but its raw, rigorous show Friday proved that the group, and especially McKracken, is worthy of that attention. Last year's debut album, "The Used," meshes aggression and melody with alternating surges of scream-fueled chaos and peppy pop hooks to great effect. But with its polished production, the record only hints at the volatile energy this young, hungry band possesses on stage.

At the Fonda, the Used was unpredictably manic, with the scruffy McKracken suggesting a more energetic Kurt Cobain as he bounced around the stage and into the crowd, floating above it while maintaining vocal fluency on tunes including the spirited anthems "The Taste of Ink" and "A Box Full of Sharp Objects." The rest of the band didn't quite match his crazed charisma, but their playing was the backbone for the band's heavy and heartfelt hybrid.

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