Rise Against with The Used & Senses Fail in San Diego

Walking up to Petco Park was like going back 20 years in time… everyone was garbed out in their best emo and punk rock attire, a style ubiquitous throughout the 00s. It made me want to grab a Mickey’s and bounce around town aimlessly like in my high school days. Now, there are fans of the emo era and then there are people who absolutely LIVED for it; I was a 16-year-old girl in 2005… I was literally emo’s target audience, so you can imagine how I felt when I found out The Used and Senses Fail were teaming up with Rise Against for a nationwide tour. It being almost two decades after my ’emo phase’, I had yet to see The Used and Senses Fail live (two albums that DEFINED my sophomore year of high school), let alone see them together. At once. With punk legends Rise Against to boot.

My apathetic heart just couldn’t take the excitement. Ironic, I know.

It being a Sunday, the show started at 6pm — early enough for the sun to still be shining. It felt… wrong. It’s too bright and cheery for an emo show. My opinion of the atmosphere pivoted when Senses Fail took the stage, though! I was entranced — completely immersed in every word, every move. I shouted the words to every song they played from their 2004 Let It Enfold You, to the point where I barely had a voice left for The Used. Giving props to his marine wife and the fact that he is now an “emo father”, Senses Fail frontman James “Buddy” Nielsen got the amassed crowd moshing enthusiastically off the bat (encouraging everyone to hydrate between songs, because, you know, we’re all old now).

And, the moshing only intensified for The Used.

Coming onstage to reverberating cheers, The Used exclaimed they “have the best fans” before launching right into one of my wily faves — “Take It Away” off the In Love & Death album. Between that LP and their self-titled, I’ve been hooked hard since 2004… and the band played most of both albums that night! I was so elated, I almost moshed my little head right into a trash can. True story. A few songs in, lead singer Bert McCracken said “I see you” to two girls almost in tears in the front row, losing their minds to witnessing the band live. After handing them a drumstick from the stage, the two really went to pieces like it was the best day of their lives. It was a truly special moment to witness. Ending with “A Box Full of Sharp Objects”, no one in the place wanted The Used to get offstage. The band even went over their set time and the crowd was still begging for more!

As night fell, it was finally time for the main event — Rise Against. With billowing smoke and lighting effects, the band members took the stage with fervor, immediately whipping the crowd into a frenzy. Crowdsurfers were launched left and right, as Rise Against played hit after hit after hit. The high energy didn’t stop all the way to the end… what a beautiful thing. Till next time, my black emo heart hath overfloweth… and my neck still hurts from head banging like I was half my age.

Photography by Kristy Rose

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