Once upon a time, the definition of ‘Emo’ was very much black and not white. There were no shades of grey either.
To be ‘emo’ was social (and in some people’s opinion, literal) suicide, but an influx of bands in the noughties put this group of awkward teenagers front and centre to the world. And My Chemical Romance could well claim the title ‘kings of the genre’, through their theatrical and emotional album The Black Parade.
But in 2010 MCR unleashed a side few had seen coming. A concept album, set in a desolate California circa 2019, called Danger Days arrived and the band proclaimed themselves the last hope for future freedom. If the band’s glimpse into the future is true, then the music industry certainly hasn’t suffered any.
The New Jersey natives were supported more than adequately by Lostalone and Welsh rockers The Blackout. The latter took their warm up act label literally, creating the bizarre sight of thousands of teenagers undertaking stretching and vocal lessons.
MCR delivered an outstanding performance to a receptive and rapturous audience – spanning their entire back-catalogue. Gone is the pyrotechnic laden set along with the matching marching band uniforms from their previous Black Parade tour. Instead fans – or to give them their proper title ‘The Killjoys’ – were treated to a stripped back and, at times, intimate set that allowed the music to do the talking.
No grand entrance just straight into the achingly catchy Na Na Na. For Killjoys, the band’s no thrills approach may have come as a surprise, as the band has somewhat relied on viral campaigns and theatrics to enhance their persona. But it was refreshing to see how much MCR has matured and moved on from the angst ridden days of their past.
Lead singer Gerard Way flicked between eccentric and smouldering personalities with apparent ease, delivering the band’s most recent release SING with copious amounts of intensity to spare. When Way sings you get the feeling he means every word that comes from his mouth, his rapport with the fans can’t be faked either. Pausing mid way through the show to allow security to help one of the younger members of the audience to safety speaks volumes of the bands dedication to its followers.
Mixing older tracks The Ghost of You, I’m Not Ok and Teenagers with tracks from their new album kept the less than capacity crowd on their toes and more than satisfied. And when called upon the ‘emo’ anthem Welcome To The Black Parade still had the same stirring effect it had on its first airing.
Ending the night with Bulletproof Heart gave a glimpse into the band’s past, present and probable future. A glorious mix of emotion loaded rock with more than a hint of theatrics that will always stay true to its faithful following.