Live Music + Gig Reviews

My Chemical Romance @ Brixton Academy, London

12 November 2006

“The combination of all of us and all of you isvery fucking dangerous because we have something tofucking say,” Gerard Way will shout to the audiencetowards the end of tonight’s show. “We want you tostay who the fuck you are. Don’t take anyone’s fuckingbullshit because you’re better than them.”

He will recite this just before launching into Give ‘Em HellKid and it is this, better than the skeletal militaryjacket he will by then have discarded in favour of ablack blazer, and better than the silver hair that hassaved him from looking like a Meatloaf mini-me,that you will either get or you won’t. You see, Gothsare better than other people and you’re either with usor you’re against us. There is no middle ground.

My Chemical Romance are very clever lads. Cynicallyor sincerely, they have uncovered the one, true darksecret of Goth: rather than being about sitting onyour own in a lonely bedsit, listening to miserablesongs and feeling sorry for yourself (that’s what theSmiths are for), Goth is about dressing up andshowing off. It’s about making an impression, layeringon more make-up than the next kid, doing things withyour hair that take hours and will upset yourteacher/mother/boss, and most of all, it’s aboutromance.

That’s right, Goth is about romance. There’s theobsession with death, but even that is with theromance of death rather than the misery of it, whichis gloriously apparent on songs like Cancer (“Thehardest part of this is leaving you”) and To The End(“If you marry me will you bury me? Will you carry meto the end?”) both of which will be aired tonight.

Dress like a Goth, head off to the first day in a newflat, club, college or job and you’re immediatelystaking your claim. You can instantly identify theother people (i.e. other Goths) who are worth talkingto. My Chemical Romance’s genius is that they’vestarted their own gang and only the people worthtalking to are invited to the party. Come and join us.

Dressed straight from The Black Parade video, theyopen on The End, with itsgloriously overblown music hall pomp as Gerard Waystruts like a latter day Freddie Mercury across thestage. Dead!, This is How I Disappear and Not Okay (IPromise) follow in quick succession as the crowdprovide so much accompaniment that you wonder if theband really needed to turn up at all, dancing, wavingand brandishing armfuls of flowers at the feet to thenew messiah. Who cares if Disappear has nicked most ofits riffs from Magazine’s Shot By Both Sides? Not us,if this is how well it rocks.

Gerard Way is in fine form, stoking the “us againstthe world” Goth fires in between songs and then we’reinto the marching band early bars of Cemetery Drive,followed by the nursery rhyme-cum-Cabaret chimes ofMama. Without Liza Minnelli here to do thehonours, it’s left to the crowd to fill in and theylove every second of it, hyped to the heavens in timefor Welcome To The Black Parade, which is beyondwords. It’s dripping camp, the bastard child ofBohemian Rhapsody and the Rocky Horror show and it isthe song of the year, haunting and explosive.

The almost boy-band-ballad of I Don’t Love Youfollows (because he doesn’t doubt for a second that wedo love him, of course) and from then until the end ofthe show it is, like the first half, equally splitbetween the current album and its direct predecessorThree Cheers For Sweet Revenge, with Teenagers, Give’Em Hell, Kid and Famous Last Words all thrown intothe mix. Just in case you thought for a second therewasn’t a sense of humour underlying all this, theyfinish on an explosive You Know What They Do To GuysLike Us In Prison.

The encore is the beautiful, haunting and soaringpiano ballad of Cancer followed by Helena, anotherlove song about early death that only Goths and 60sall-girl harmony bands can get away with. They willnever again play a venue this intimate. From here onin, the future is Wembley Arena (already booked). Whata way to go.

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