PROCESSION MOVES ON, THE SHOUTING IS OVER
My Chemical Romance, Hammersmith Apollo
It’d been a long cold wait for the killjoys, and other dedicated My Chemical Romance fans. Duvets and debris littered the pavement outside the Hammersmith Apollo; a somewhat humble setting for the band’s eagerly awaited return from an extended hiatus, considering they’d rocked Wembley Arena on their last tour, three years ago.
Gerard Way and his cohorts are about to push a new album into the spotlight; an edgier, more upbeat, muscle-car-motor oil album than its predecessor entitled Danger Days: The Fabulous Life Of Killjoys. Tonight will be its baby shower; a test trial to determine its reception. Outside, as the doors open, fans stampede through, treading on the remnants of their tokens to their fanaticism from the previous night. The seats and standing area quickly fill with fans of all ages, decked out in their ‘killjoy’ outfits of, bright reds, yellows, greens and blues, sporting bandanas, leather jackets, skinny jeans and ray guns.
All dressed up and at the place to be that night, all they had to do now was to wait for the first and only support band. Twin Atlantic walk onto the stage, instruments in tow, and the lead singer speaks; his accent identifies him as Scottish. Not having a clue who they are, I naively think they must have got Biffy Clyro to support, unfortunately I am mistaken. Nevertheless, the Scotsmen present an energetic taster of what they have to offer, lead singer Sam Mctrusty acting like an electrified marionette, while the guitarist gets so caught up in thrashing around he falls over. Their entertaining set draws to an end and they thank everyone, express their endearing love for the headliners and walk off to the gratuitous sound of the crowd.
The interval provides ample time for anticipation to build, the enthusiasm in the room so volatile it seems jammed on the point of eruption. Then the sound of ‘Dr Death Defying’s’ aggressive voice fills the auditorium. That’s when we all know what’s coming next; the debut single ‘Na Na Na’. Piercing screams, jumps and cries from every teenager present amplify the happiness at the band’s presence in the room. Gerard Way sports a longer bright red haircut, and casual black attire consisting of black sleeveless shirt and black boots. The rest of the band are just as louché in their sartorial selections, tonight’s dazzlers will be the music, the ambience.
The crowd tonight do not simply represent a birthing pool for the new album, they are also a receptacle for numbers from past sets including one not played in five years – ‘Our Lady of Sorrows’, from the debut I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love. A poignant moment was when Gerard decided to let two lucky fanatics on stage with him to perform ‘Honey This Mirror Isn’t Big Enough For The Two Of Us’, the youngsters excitedly climbing up and enthusiastically breaking into song ‘Eight bars too early’, as Gerard pointed out, He took over as the girls tried to lift their shaking jaws off the floor in order to sing the necessary to a packed out HMV Apollo. Fans looked on in verdant envy as these girls got the chance of a lifetime.
The anthemic indices peak for ‘Welcome To The Black Parade’; perhaps their most renowned song. Every hand is up, every mouth chanting the lyrics, the atmosphere magical, almost spiritual, demonstrating how strong a fan base these Jersey boys have acquired, how much they have been missed. The floodlights flash accordingly to the music, blinding the crowd and allowing the newly whittled quartet (drummer Bob Bryar recently left, the reason still unexplained to the general public) to create silhouettes. The smoke machine is utilised well, almost too well, covering the standing killjoys in a misty blanket, adding to the air of mystery.
The hardcore, no breaks 90-minute set is like Christmas come early, the band ending what seemed like a pleasant eternity with a soulful rendition of their own ‘Cancer’ from The Black Parade. Do we want more? Of course we do! “We always come back for more” and with that they go into ‘’The Kids From Yesterday’’ off the album, unfolding as a synthy cowbell incantation smothered in nostalgia, expressing the themes of the record and the experiences of the band.
My Chemical Romance could now breathe a sigh of relief as their new songs had been received well, some fans already knowing the words to ‘The Only Hope For Me’ due to an ante-post free iTunes download. The band needn’t have done much to merit such a loud ovation; the combination of a three year hiatus with the release of a long-awaited album, their return had been a complete success covering their entire corpus. Our fix had been seen to; now the wait for tour news would replace the expectations for this spectacular display.
Abitha Pallett /Eyeplug