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Wednesday, 16 February 2011

My Chemical Romance - Glasgow SECC - 15/2/11


It was a bit of a crap shoot evening where you roll your dice and take your chances.
My Chemical Romance were in the SECC, Imelda May in the ABC and some NME darlings called The Heartbreak were playing in the Captains Rest.
Our mission was to secure MCR tickets, but failing that Imelda May would have been our second choice with The Heartbreak being the band we would have went to see just so that the trip wasn't entirely pointless.
Lady Luck was however on our side for a change and we hit the jackpot after a short haggle with a ticket tout and found ourselves in the sold out MCR show.
As I'm still of the opinion that Danger Days : The true lives of the fabulous killjoys was one of the best releases of last year I had a keen sense of anticipation for the nights entertainment. Especially as I'm also a MCR virgin never having seen them play live before.
Thankfully the anticipation served to blank out the worst behavioural excesses of the hordes of kids who were displaying all the worst traits of children with ADHD let loose in a candy store.
At times it felt like I was being swept along with rampaging Oompa Loompas intent on breaking Willy Wonka's chains of servitude during a coup of the chocolate factory.
Sadly the anticipation wasn't enough to keep me on a high through the support acts sets.
First was Lost Alone who I have already had the misfortune of seeing once before ( and I've got to say that they haven't improved.
Although their fan base appears to have swollen considerably considering the response they received.
The young crowd were lapping them up and on the screens at the side of the stage I could see that a circle pit had broken out.
Well either that or two fourteen year olds were pushing and shoving each other and a circle of peers had formed shouting “fight, fight, fight” before the dinner lady came and broke it up.
I've said it before but I'm sometimes unsure how much of the reaction is a genuine response to enjoying the band or a Pavlovian “ I hear the music so therefore I must dance a whoop and a holler” reaction.
As for Lost Alone, well there was a bit less fret board wankery going on, and the bassist has reigned in his compulsion to seig heil the devil horns at the crowd in five second bursts, but I'm still at a loss to understand how such a mediocre indie rock act who pander to the emo/goth demographic can secure such high profile support slots. Truly woeful.
The best bit about their set was Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds intro, and if your intro music upstages you then it's time to consider another career in my opinion.
Blackout were next and I'd heard some good things about them. All lies it turns out.
Maybe that's a bit unfair though as there's a good band in there trying to get out.
The duel call and response vocals in a light hardcore stylee sounded horribly dated to me.
The soft melodic delivery juxtaposed with the growl is so last decade and while there's not a lot wrong with regurgitating the past it's usually the norm to wait a little while longer before repackaging it for a new audience.
Once again I was the only one marching in time to the band as everyone else seemed to love them.
It may sound a little arrogant, but after the young crowd have a few more shows tucked under their belts they might realize that all this “Let me hear if you're louder than last nights crowd” and “You Scots must be better than the English” is a very poor level of crowd management/manipulation.
By the end of their set I was sick of watching them leaping about like Jedward and one of the singers gobbing in the air and attempting to catch his own phlegm in his mouth.
You with think that after a couple of minutes of hitting the stage, his own forehead and the drummer that he would have called it a day, but no.
Maybe in future he could hone his skills to the point he drowns on his own spit. It wouldn't be a great loss to the music business.
Say that after you've seen him performing like a drunken monkey for a full half hour.
It's a shame really as the rest of the band and the other front man are very good at at what they do.
If they ever drop the blonde cretin I would even consider going to see them again, but until then it's a big no thank you.
My Chemical Romance were left to show us how it is really done and to say that they did so would underplay just how good they were.
Kicking off with Na Na Na they nailed it. Post apocalyptic glam terrorism never sounded so good.
It's a great shame that so many people of my age look down their noses at this band due to a misguided perception of the music they play.
At their root they are a classic rock band with added frills. It's all there if you care to listen.
From the high octane beginning they then rattle through a set that revisits Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge and the high spots of The Black Parade, including a hair on the neck raising rendition of Cancer that was purely vocals and piano.
A song that proves that Gerard Way has the ability to give any singer a run for their money when conveying raw emotion.
Most of their show was however set aside to promote Danger Days, and the new material is solid. Older and more familiar songs struggled to eclipse tracks for the latest album and that's a good sign for the future of any band
A personal favourite of mine Vampire Money sounded like a snot nosed punk anthem writ large in neon. A car crash involving Bowie and the Ramones accompanied by the sound of some honky-tonk piano.
I mean who could resist that? It wouldn't even be fair to say that this was a highpoint as the whole set was the highpoint of the night.
The band themselves are tight and augmented by a couple more musicians who serve to round the sound out and carry over the studio versions into the live arena without losing anything.
In fact they probably add to the originals.
It's literally awe inspiring with the over all performance being pretty much faultless.
Although when I say faultless I wouldn't want anyone to think that it dipped into sterility.
This is after all a live show, and there has to be something else when it comes to playing live.
A note by note take on a song isn't enough. The music has to live and breathe. Force a reaction through it being conveyed directly from band to audience and if you could witness the manic performance of Mama first hand then you would appreciate what I mean.
I was simply blown away by them. I guess that could have been the review. “My Chemical Romance blew me away.” It really conveys it all.
They are so far ahead of the pack musically than most of their peers that it's breathtaking to see them perform.
I've heard, and even participated in conversations where the lack of a future music great is expounded on.
Where is the current generations Beatles, Bowie or Stones?
How long is the shelf life of the current crop of artists in what appears to be a boom and bust scene?
Well the answer is there right under our noses.
My Chemical Romance have the ability to do something very special by pushing the boundaries while maintaining a solid rock foundation.
Their future will be decided by those opening up to them and accepting that their current fan base, and the magazines who feature them, do not truly represent what the band actually do.
In the future I could see them creating a full on Rock Opera featuring an Orchestra and a cast of hundreds. Give it a few years and anything could happen.
As it is they piss all over acts like Green Day and 30 Seconds to Mars who are normally thrown forward as the voices of a disenfranchised generation.
So go on, buy the albums, go to the shows and tell me I'm wrong.

Set List

Look Alive, Sunshine (Intro)
Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)
Give 'Em Hell, Kid
Planetary (GO!)
Hang 'Em High
Vampire Money
The Only Hope For Me Is You
Party Poison
I'm Not Okay (I Promise)
Famous Last Words
Welcome To The Black Parade

Vampires Will Never Hurt You


  1. Judging by the new album and the last album,the band are good at what they do. It aint flash in the pan emo pop songs,some are as crafted as the beatles etc,eg Cancer etc. A shame how they intentionally shot themselves in the foot with coming across as an emo band. Maybe its time they did what Gorrilaz did and maybe perform behind a curtain and let the music speak for itself,because they will always be considered and emo band to many people :)

  2. I'm not sure that this would even shake the emo tag. It's going to be a millstone around their necks forever it seems.
    Many of the young fans will move on to the next big band - as is the norm - maybe leaving them in a no mans land where their fan base has deserted them and they havn't picked up a newer more mature one.
    That would be a loss to music imo.

  3. brilliant review!
    actually someone who finally gets them as a live band.
    On Monday it will be my 31st time seeing them & they just get better & better.

  4. Thank you. There is a generational gap thing going on that isn't working in their favour and that's a shame.
    I sincerely believe that if more people drppped their preconceived ideas of what MCR are all about and stop judging them by their fan base then they could go on to be a very important band.
    I wouldn't hesitate in going to see them again.
    I'll add that there's nothing wrong with their fan base either, but they do help cement a misguided view of the band with older music lovers.

  5. Once again thank you very much, and thank you for commenting.

  6. I agree with almost every single thing you said. (Ignoring the shite/irritating support acts) It was probably the second best gig I've ever been to and I love those guys so much. And as long as they continue to enjoy what they do I'm sure we have many years to come and many more generations of fans.

    Although to be honest I would never say they "piss all over" Green Day as a band. That's probably partly cause I love Green Day and partly cause I count theirs as the best gig I've ever been to.
    I've also seen 30 Seconds to Mars live and they aren't even in the same league as either of the other two.

    But yeah a good review overall.

  7. I've seen Green Day many times over the years from the smaller to the larger venues. I even took my son to see them in Milton Keynes, but while I still like them their live shows for me have become a sterile rock by numbers set and this is where they fall far behind MCR.
    It's not the same show they are playing every night, but virtually the same show they are playing every tour now.
    It's maybe not entirely their fault as they have certainly become a victim of their own success, but at the end of the day I found mysef watching them last tme in Glasgow and thinking I'd seen it all before.