Show Review: The Used, Taking Back Sunday and Frank Iero and the Cellabration live at Stage AE Pittsburgh 9-10-14

Pittsburgh’s a pretty cool fucking town, and I hadn’t been to the Land of Three Rivers in a couple of decades, so why not grab my bestie and head out in the middle of the workweek to cover a show featuring a near-perfect post-hardcore line-up with a side order of punk?

Once upon a time, a lineup like this would’ve been a sea of sailing bodies, but surfing was kept to a minimum here as the complexion of the crowd has shifted to include a sizable dose of unrowdy young ladies. Stage AE is a theater-esque establishment with an unusually high stage set far enough apart from the barricade in order to discourage stagediving (although security informed me that the most determined of dudes still try).

Frank Iero, touring on the release of his first (and very awesome) solo effort, “Stomachaches,” put together an outfit that he dubbed “The Cellabration,” consisting of former LeATHERMØUTH and current Low Road guitarist Rob Hughes (on bass for this project,) Science guitarist Evan Nestor and independent artist (now drummer) Matt Olsson for touring purposes. The set is energetic and dark, with three-part harmonies filling the arena, dual guitars (Iero and Nestor) and some really fun bass licks from the ever-talented Hughes. Olsson is the perfect backbone: fun to watch on drums, with a perpetual smile upon his face reminiscent of Taylor Hawkins. This album is definitely worth a listen. Favorite track: “All I Want Is You.”

Since I last caught them on tour, during their “Louder Now” days, Taking Back Sunday has endured several lineup changes (current members include vocalist and former bassist Adam Lazzarra, founding member and guitarist Eddie Reyes, original guitarist and keyboardist John Nolan, and bassist after Lazzarra, Shaun Cooper). They’ve also released three more albums, “New Again,” Self-Titled and the newly minted “Happiness Is.” Although Lazzarra no longer dangles from light fixtures as he did in the first half of the band’s career, he hasn’t lost his charisma. The band seemed settled as they ran through a string of sing-along hits such as “MakeDamnSure,””Decades Under The Influence” and “What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost” as well as brand new cuts like “Better Homes and Gardens,” all met with equal enthusiasm by the sweaty crowd.

The headliners of the evening, The Used, also showcasing a brand new release, “Imaginary Enemy,” a surprisingly strong anti-war statement by the stable outfit consisting of vocalist Bert McCracken, guitarist Quinn Allman, bassist Jepha Howard and drummer Dan Whitesides, hit the stage with a fury, inciting the crowd to circle pit, belting through one beloved tune after another, and beginning their encore with the perpetual crowd favorite, the sentimental “On My Own.” You can scream yourself hoarse at a show like this, and most of us did. After an explosive opening with the pounding “Take It Away,” grinning at the crowd as they sang every note for them during tracks like “All That I’ve Got,” and “The Taste of Ink,” and rounding out the set with the hard-hitting “Pretty Handsome Awkward,” The Used definitely owned the arena, as they usually do.

This is an extremely fun tour that you should definitely hop onto if it’s passing through the city. Check out upcoming tour dates here. And check out our photos from the show below.


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