After an already successful run of shows for Good Things Festival, The Used must have known they simply could not depart without giving Australian fans one more opportunity to see another live show. Having only announced one sideshow, the chosen location meant that the venue would undeniably be welcoming Used fans from all across the country into a sole meeting point right inside The Basement, Canberra.

Opening the set, were Sydney alternative rockers Far Away Stables. They hit it off immediately, with a crowd of early-comers approaching the stage from the very start. The energy of their performance remained invigorating, and song after song the audience was treated to a variety of pop-punk inspired tracks with a hint of post-hardcore influences. Standing out as one of the most impressive characteristics of the performance, was the incorporation of a megaphone to aid with the screaming vocals that left a vibe of satisfying intensity clinging to the air long after the songs were finished. The liveliness of vocalist Brendan Sheargold was completely transmitted to the listening crowd, and the performance of the band as a whole was incredibly gratifying to watch.

The eager crowd did not have to wait long, as shortly after the lights were dimmed, and as the fans erupted in screams of encouragement, the band began to step out to the backing track of the beginning of Take It Away. Spitting water into the crowd, frontman Bert McCracken launched right into the song with the energy of a mosh pit already forming in front of him. Stepping right onto the barrier, the fans in front welcomed him with stretched out hands as they sang along and screamed to every word. Even though there appeared to be a sound issue with Jepha Howard‘s bass, the band continued on and wrapped up the track as if nothing had happened.

As Bird and the Worm began, yet another technical difficulty left Bert without a microphone for the first portion of the song, however, the roaring of the crowd reciting the lyrics carried the performance on while the vocals returned. The technical issues were squashed out after the second song, and right after, Bert expressed his gratitude for the fans that had made 18 years of The Used possible before introducing an “old one” and jumping into Listening. A very special guest made an appearance during the song, as Bert invited his oldest toddler daughter Cleopatra McCracken to join him on stage. The crowd hyped the pair up as they danced and jumped to the music, and in what was truly a special moment, Bert lifted his daughter up and placed her on his shoulders while the audience cheered on.

The setlist continued delivering fan favourites that made every former emo kid in the audience emotionally nostalgic, such as I Caught Fire. Some older tracks also followed, like Cry and Blood on my Hands. The setlist remained relatively similar to the festival one, and unsurprisingly, Bert broke out into numerous Shakespeare sonnets between songs, reciting them passionately and perfectly. Bert’s daughter returned to the stage later on to sing her favourite song (the Playschool theme song) as the crowd opened up a circle pit and moshed along.

More fan favourites and iconic Used classics followed, with All That I’ve Got (“for the fans of In Love and Death” as Bert stated) and The Taste of Ink. The crowd was definitely feeling the lyrics, and screamed along while grasping the meaning of the well-known chorus line: “I’ll savour every moment of this”. Buried Myself Alive followed, which was an addition to the shortened festival setlist, and after introducing the following track as a song that was rarely played live, the crowd was treated to another addition in the form of Blue and Yellow which left everybody screaming the lyrics in an over-emotive state.

Nearing the end of the set, Bert recited his last Shakespeare sonnet before diving right into Pretty Handsome Awkward. The crowd, aware that they had limited time before it was all over, rightfully decided to go completely crazy in the best way. The boys left the stage once it was over, but after chants of “two more songs!”, promptly returned for an encore. Maybe Memories hit it off once again, and with the usual introduction of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, the band merged into A Box Full of Sharp Objects as their final song. Everything was wrapped up with a quick rendition of the Smells Like Teen Spirit chorus. As the band said their goodbyes, the deafening crowd cheered their thank yous and farewells, and long after they were gone, the ringing in everyone’s ears remained as a testament to such an exhilarating show.

This sideshow was definitely the perfect way to wrap up The Used’s Australian performances, and after being treated to such an intimate and personal performance I must say that waiting for The Used’s return is going to be an unbearable wait. The memory of such a special show remains, however, and that is more than enough to keep me content for now.