If you’ve followed this blog more more than about six months, you’ll have noticed that I can’t commit. To anything. Blog wise, I mean (whether or not I can commit to anything else is going to take another post). And if you were here before about three hours ago, you’ll have noticed that I’ve changed the layout. Again. Sort of. It’s brighter than it was. I got fed up with the overbearing header so I changed it to… a stock photo of a city that came with the WordPress theme. I’m not sure which city it is. It might not even be a city. The marketing person in me wants to go and make a branded header right now, but I like that it’s kind of anonymous. I might replace it tomorrow… I might not. NOTHING IS FIXED IN THIS WORLD EXCEPT MY DESIRE TO LISTEN TO MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE.
Sunday was #Parade10, aka Lots of People I’ve Known for Years on the Internet Hung Out and Nearly Cried Watching Old Footage of a Semi-Vintage Band. I met up with people I saw at #Revenge10 and have actually tried to stay in touch this time. I met entirely new people and will try to stay in touch this time. Coincidentally Sunday was also six years since this happened. Six entire years since MCR debuted Danger Days at the Hammersmith Apollo and I heard The Kids From Yesterday and thought ‘I think that makes me a kid of today’. Since I’m not quite at the age MCR were when they wrote Kids, I refuse to acknowledge that I’m not still, like, the youth, even though I feel fucking old when I look at the top 40 (is it still actually called that). But I guess the youth don’t partake in videos saying ‘fuck Australia’, so.
The ‘start’ of My Chemical Romance has always been 11th September 2001. Unless you think it though, anyway, and then it’s more “sometime between 9/11 and 23rd July 2002 when their first album came out” (9/11 was the catalyst but I kind of think that it took five people making noise to properly get it going, and I’m seriously uncomfortable with people mistaking terrorism for a cause for celebration). This year is the first that we’ve had an ‘end’ of MCR. Actually, this is debatable too, since the announcement was March 2013 but Gerard’s end was May 2012…
Let’s let the historians argue over that.
I’m not fussed about dates, to be honest. Putting a date to something means you have a designated day to feel the emotion(s) you think you ought to feel. Unfortunately, since it’s 9/11/my birthday week, my brain has done what it usually does and started thinking about things – MCR, life, the usual big questions… what’s stood out the most is the fact that this is my first 911/birthday week without MCR in seven years. The first that I’ve known about MCR and its history, anyway (technically it’s my first since I was five, but that makes me feel old). It’s strange. I try very hard not to be superstitious, but part of me has always liked the fact that, probably, on my birthday Gerard was having an existential crisis (on the off-chance Gerard’s reading this: sorry). It was the only upside of my birthday, really, because 12th September has kind of become one of those days that the world woke up and was palpably different.
There’s a pre-9/11 world and a post-9/11 world in the same way that there was 5th August 1945 and 7th August 1945 and during that middle day, everything changed. Not visibly – most people probably had no idea of the long-term effects of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – but the world was different. Historians had a date with which they could split their textbooks, and 9/11 is another of those dates.
One of today’s many Twitter trends has been #NeverForget. As a Government and Politics student, it’s getting to the point where any mention of the American government makes me want to throw my massive textbook at a poster of George W. Bush, because Afghanistan was a complete waste of time, money, human life, etcetera, and what kind of fuckin’ idiot talks about crusading against Islam anyway?! But that’s not the point, at least for today. The point is that one Tuesday lot of people died horribly, and then lots more died horribly because of the first instance of horrible deaths. Twelve years later and every time I switch on the news I think that today might be another ‘defining date’. Syria, Egypt, the Eurozone crisis, the motherfucking EDL and soldiers who’re decapitated while going for a walk wearing a Help for Heroes t-shirt, because someone’s fighting on behalf of a version of god that arguably doesn’t exist anyway.
I think the real reason I don’t want to go to university to study Politics and RS is that the frequent rises in blood pressure would probably kill me before the first Christmas break. But here’s the deal:
Quite a large part of me is splitting the world into pre-22nd March 2013 and post-22nd March 2013. Most days I’m somewhere between okay and completely fine about the end of MCR. The band is still alive and happy and MCR-the-legacy is doing pretty well for itself; the MCRmy’s not going anywhere and neither is the music. So it’s fine, you know, most days.
Some days are harder. I nearly cried in Starbucks the other day, for example, when I read the interview Frank did with Kerrang! Magazine. I went to Wembley Stadium in April and I didn’t realise why I was so down until I realised that we were walking past the Arena, which is where my second-and-last show was in 2011. Watching Live At the Apollo feels odd because the Hammersmith Apollo is the other venue I saw the band live.
That’s coming up for three years ago, and I’m getting worried that I’m going to forget in the same way America seems terrified of forgetting. Forget what it’s like to be in a room with a group of people whom I’ve never previously met and possibly wouldn’t like but love at that very moment because we’re all in the room together. It’s the closest feeling I’ve experienced to Charlie’s infinite moment, and I miss it. There are no cool tunnels where I live either, so that’s out (well there is a tunnel and a bridge, but they scream “CONGESTION CHARGE!!!!”).
There’s a picture somewhere on MCRmy.com of MCR with the caption “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”. And let’s face it, compared to what the families of 9/11 victims went though during its aftermath, 23rd March 2013 was a party. Compared to what Syrians are facing right now, it was My Super Sweet Sixteen with extra tantrum-obtained sparkles. At its worst, it was like a funeral for someone who lived a long and happy life then died peacefully with no trace of dementia or terminal illness.
Except comparing bad events and weighing them against one another is what’s got the world running in circles over the last few decades. 3000 people die on American soil and the middle east gets turned upside down. A Fusilier’s killed in the street and minor racist pressure groups suddenly have the right idea when it comes to non-British/white/Christian people’s treatment. 800,000 people are systematically murdered over one hundred days in Rwanda and it’s like, “they aren’t geopolitically important so we can ignore it until the general public notices that it’s not cool to see dead Africans on the six o’clock news.”
Everyone’s noticed that My Chem quite enjoy playing live shows, and that people quite enjoy going to them. Having seen them twice, on their first show back in London last October and at Wembley Area in February – read the reviews/blogs here and here – I can tell you that there’s a reason for the excitement.
In short, they are brilliant. I realise I’m biased, and haven’t been to that many rock shows – but it’s not hard to understand the fuss.
Before that song had ended, we knew the words. We hadn’t stopped dancing. And every time I hear it, I smile.
When people tell me they aren’t really familiar with My Chem, I want to send them a playlist of live songs. I always think, “Choose what you want to listen to that’s been recorded in a studio, but to get the essence of the band, you need to hear this.” Then I think of Mama, Prison andDESTROYA. They’re all completely different songs, but they’re all really good examples of the way MCR work live. Heard those songs and still need convincing? Look no further than this handy Why You Should See My Chemical Romance Live list:
Gerard’s sass. Everyone’s fifth favourite member of the band (or is that Mikey’s knees? I forget). If you know someone who’s in danger of becoming a homophobe, take them to a show. Whether they liked guys before seeing it or not, they will after. Reason being, Gerard. He can make the crowd do what he wants them to, when he wants them to, before they realise they might not want to do it. Good thing he’s a nice bloke. To the few people who bitch about his vocals live: you do what he does, then complain.
Frank’s insane. He was voted fifth greatest rockstar in the world by Kerrang! this year, because he’s “My Chemical Romance’s heart. He’s the guts.” Each member quite obviously gives his all, but I know where the writers were coming from for once: it doesn’t matter how big the show is, Frank will be on fire. He’s fallen into the drums, tackled Gerard and given him serious injuries and pushed Mikey over. And yet…
Ray Toro is totally epic, yeah. In the seats I’ve been in at shows, I’ve never had that great a view of Ray – mostly it’s just a flash of fro here and there. But when I have been able to see him, he’s been playing. All the time. In every review I’ve read, everyone’s said the same thing. It doesn’t matter what stupid thing Gerard and Frank are doing, or who’s climbing up onstage, or whether he’s got two working feet or not; Ray plays guitar like his life depends on it. Maybe it does, I don’t know… He does have ‘SL’ tattooed on his arm, for ‘stage left’, his position… Perhaps he made a deal with the devil: “I will put up with being the dude the fangirls ignore if you let me play all the time.” Sounds like a pretty sweet agreement to me.
Mikey’s a cool, awesome (in the old meaning of the word) presence. He doesn’t always get the mic, but when he does, he discusses Darth Vader. Sometimes he falls over, and sometimes it’s during a performance of Cemetery Drive. He played with glasses on every night for years, when there’s a reason most people opt not to. Most importantly: his bass looks like Edward Cullen got a makeover.
If you’re still unsure about how fun My Chem are to watch live, how much blood and sweat goes into playing, book tickets to see them next time they’re in town. The worst that can happen is that you’ll come out with ringing ears and a question mark over your sexuality…
The steady hum of my laptop ripping Danger Days is incredibly comforting. Almost as much as listening to it in bed at six in the morning is…
I have a cold, okay, and it’s my alarm.
There’s no point in reviewing the album, because a) most people reading this already have and love it, and b) everyone else in the universe did when it went on YouTube. Instead, I have some questions for the band:
What’s up with the titchy lyrics in the booklet? I have to hold it up to the light when I want to check I’m not mishearing Gerard’s screaming.
Is the case supposed to break within a day of owning it? Actually, its record is better than Bullets’, that one fell apart ten minutes after I bought it.
Does Bob get royalties for the songs he’s credited as writing?
Who decided to sell it for ten quid starting price? Not that anyone’s complaining or anything. Only this is the first time I’ve ever paid full price for a CD and I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t £15.99.
Can you translate the Japanese on Party Poison for us uneducated people who can only speak English? Please?!
You know, I remember when Party Poison was called Death Before Disco, when it got put on the Internet after MCR’s shows at The Roxy. I’d try to make that sound all sentimental, but it was summer 2009…
Once upon a time, there were three young girls named Francesca, Ellen and Elizabeth who shared, amongst other defining qualities, a deep love of a rock band named My Chemical Romance.
When this rock band decided to tour after two years absence from the rock and roll scene, the girls jumped at the chance to see them play live at the Hammersmith Apollo, London (well, two of them did. One needed gentle persuasion that if she didn’t see them now, they would have died before they next came to England). After trawling the Internet and various websites looking for tickets that were less than a hundred pounds, they – well, the one doing the Googling, Francesca – found a website called www.getmein.com.
Francesca phoned her friends and it was decided that they would each pay the extortionate amount of eighty-five pounds to see the band they so admired. The tickets were purchased from the website, but did not appear for several weeks. After many phone calls and stressed-out conversations, it emerged that the tickets resided at the Apollo box office. This meant that the girls would travel to London with only a slim hope that they weren’t being ripped off.
However, they made the long and perilous journey up the A127, playing Spot the White Person in London to pass the time. For the record, once they got into Hackney, the game was pointless. No one won. When the sat-nav directed them to their destination, the girls were amused to find a rather odd collection of people queuing up. There were girls dressed as pandas, girls with crosses over their eyes, girls obvious with insecurity complexes as they were wearing the whole of Boots’ makeup counter and a bottle of hairspray each. Also a man who was playing the oh-so-popular game How Many People Mistake Me For Gerard Way Then Realise I’m a Poser, and quite a lot of Killjoys.
After spending time in a slightly odd cafe that prompted the game Make Fun of the Polish and Russians When They Serve/Stare At Us, the girls and their chaperone, Laurence, made their way into a queue for the box office. Where this video was shot:
Thankfully, the group was allowed inside to collect their tickets eventually. Said tickets were, surprisingly, legitimate. Cue lots of shrieking, hugging, declarations of love for god, etc. Sadly, the people on the door weren’t in such a good mood and threw Elizabeth’s water in the bin.
Like they are a band are important enough to throw things at.
Time for this video:
After more queuing, for both the toilet and the merchandise stand, in which more money was handed over to various already-rich corporations, MCR took to the stage.
This was when the world exploded.
Gerard, with red hair and rips in his t-shirt, demanded that every man in the room took off his top and swung it around their head if it was their first My Chem show – thankfully Laurence refrained – during You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison. Frank only looked up from his confusing guitar pedals twice; once when Gerard talked to him and once when two girls took to the stage during Honey, This Mirror Isn’t Big Enough For the Two Of Us. One wore stripy trousers and the other had a two-foot (no exaggeration) blond mohawk. They were twins.
Mikey, hair dyed a newly apocalyptic shade of platinum, was glued to his, quote, “Rocket-shaped and shiny” bass and Ray actually didn’t stop playing. At all. Well, maybe when the twins attacked him with a ‘hug’. James Dewees, who played the keyboard, made his insanity public by wearing a jumper onstage and the drummer (who may or may not be a permanent addition to the group) seemed relatively talented. Well, they played songs from Bullets which hadn’t been played in five years – according to Gerard.
Here are the first twenty-five seconds of Welcome to the Black Parade. There are only twenty-five seconds because it was much more fun to mosh to the music than hold a camera – and no one needs to hear Francesca’s singing for five minutes. Plus, you know, you can’t see anything except strobe lights…
The show, unlike most other My Chem shows, didn’t end with Helena, but with a new one called The Kids From Yesterday (or something like that). There were the usual hits as well as maybe twelve other songs. Here is a well-recorded version of The Only Hope For Me Is You, where you can get an eyeful of the band’s outfits.
May it be noted that the nicest thing to hear (other than Mikey’s solo at the end) was Gerard saying, “Here’s to the next ten years of this band.” He frequently said other things too, but Elizabeth felt the need to talk over him and discuss how gay he sounded with Ellen.
Which was quite gay. Especially when he did the shirt thing. There will be a song about that up here soon.
Did you get to see them this weekend? Are you seeing them in Europe? Are you American and only going to see them when they tour your country?