The Used, Red Sun Rising, and The Fever 333 rolled through Omaha to shake the walls at Sokol Thursday night (5/24). I was on hand to capture all of the amazing energy and crowd reactions.
As I arrived at the venue a street team member from Roadrunner Records was handing out drawstring bags featuring The Fever 333. Being a newly converted The Fever 333 fan I was anxious to get some free swag. I quickly walked over and asked if there were any more bags. Unfortunately, all the bags were gone, but I flashed my custom Fever 333 shirt and he pulled out a freshly pressed Fever 333 bandana from his secret stash. Score one for DIY custom shirts!
After speaking with the Roadrunner street team rep, I quickly scanned the line for anyone I knew. It didn’t take long before I ran into Jamie from the show in Lincoln the night before. She had her Used jacket on and was super pumped to see the band for the third time! I thanked her for her support of the blog and sharing my photos on Facebook and Instagram.
Once inside the venue, I made the rounds and talked to several folks from The Fever 333’s show the night before in Lincoln. There were about 20 familiar faces from the previous show including Cindy “The Rocker Grandma”! She printed out the photo my wife took of her with The Fever 333. The whole band signed it after their set, she was so stoked!
As the lights dimmed, I made my way to the front of the stage. Still reeling from their last performance, I knew that the audience was in for a huge shock. I let the people around me in the pit know that they were about to have their minds blown! My wife spray painted a giant banner with 333 on it before the show. I rallied a few fans to help me hold the banner over the barrier. After The Fever’s curtain dropped front man Jason Aalon Butler stepped to the front of the stage and had a huge smile when he saw the banner! The band ripped through their first song “Burn It” with a whirlwind energy and it didn’t take long before Jason was in the middle of the crowd stirring up a circle pit.
After the first song Jason said “I know what you’re thinking, what did I just walk into?” Looking around there were plenty of fans with mouths wide open just trying to grasp what was going on. I can honestly say it was one of the craziest performances I’ve ever seen at Sokol. As the Fever 333 closed out their set with their soon to be hit “Hunting Season” Jason ran up to the top balcony and was hanging off the railing like a madman. I’ve been going to shows at Sokol for nearly 20 years, and I’ve never seen anyone do that. This band is truly something special to behold.
After The Fever 333 obliterated the stage, Red Sun Rising was up. It must have been difficult following such a killer performance, but they held their own, playing hit after hit to a welcoming crowd. Opening with the super catchy track “Amnesia”, Red Sun Rising quickly took hold of the room and had everyone bouncing and singing along.
There were several songs in the set from their new album “Thread” as well as previous hits from their major label debut album “Polyester Zeal”. Red Sun Rising definitely falls in the “up and coming” category. Expect to see more from them in the next few years.
Finally, after Red Sun Rising it was time for the boys from Orem to take the stage. As the crowd chanted “The Used!” in anticipation of their arrival, everyone in the building stopped what they were doing and started making their way towards the stage. As the lights flashed and the crunchy guitars let out the opening notes of “Maybe Memories” from The Used’s debut self-titled album, waves of fans bounced in unison and sang along.
In an effort to keep the energy going, the band launched into one of their bigger hits, “The Bird and the Worm” from their third effort “Lies for the Liars”. Front man Bert McCracken made several pleas for the audience to let go of all their worries and become kids again. I have a feeling judging by the looks of the crowd demographics, many of the fans in attendance were just kids when The Used was at the height of their popularity. Two younger girls toward the back shrieked when the band starting playing “I Caught Fire”, singing along with every word. I commented to my wife Virginia, “These girls were probably six or seven when this came out!” Good for the Used still reaching out and getting younger fans involved.
Later in the set, Bert mentioned that they had played a show at Sokol nearly 17 years ago opening for Goldfinger and not many knew who they were. I was so excited when he said that, as I clearly remember being at that show! A young scraggly Bert kept screaming “We are The Used!”. Everyone looked around at each other like, “Who is The Used?” Well looks likes the joke is on us, because they’re still out there rocking.
Here’s to another 17 years Bert!
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