Live Act in Focus: My Chemical Romance


I had the pleasure of re-watching My Chemical Romance‘s live-show recording, The Black Parade is Dead!, a few days ago, and damn do they put on a good show.

Emo and alt-rock legends My Chemical Romance have been performing together for over 13 years now. Having been active from 2001-2013 before taking a hiatus and coming back in 2020 (praise the Lord). Hailing from Newark, New Jersey, MCR are revered as being one of the key bands in the emo movement of the early to mid-2000s, and have consistently released amazing album after amazing album, from their early goth roots in I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love (2002) to new-wave alt-rock in Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys (2010). With four studio albums under their belt, three compilations and two live albums, they’ve proven themselves as legends in the alternative scene.

From what I’ve seen and heard from recorded concerts, My Chemical Romance’s live shows are nothing short of theatrical. The opening song of The Black Parade is Dead!, recorded in Mexico City in 2007, is marked by lead singer Gerard Way being wheeled out on a hospital bed, framed by flashing lights akin to that of an ambulance siren, before he rips off his hospital sheet and launches into ‘The End’, the first track off of 2007’s The Black Parade. Here, he is obviously playing the part of the patient, the character that The Black Parade is centred around. The curtain falls, and the drums and guitar kick in, with Ray Toro once again proving himself as one of the most underrated lead-guitarists in the scene. The rest of the show is nothing short of a quasi-musical. Way puts EVERYTHING into his performance, allowing you to see the emotions clearly on his face, crying, screaming, writhing around and dancing in his typical Gerard Way style. Frank Iero leaps around the stage, full of energy and ripping it out on his guitar. The band all wear their Black Parade marching band uniforms, and the stage is littered with motifs from the album, from Mother War’s gas mask on Bob Bryer’s drum kit to the backdrop of the ‘Black Parade’ music video being used as the backdrop for the stage. It’s a breathtaking show, filled with dramatics,  with moments like Way’s rendition of Liza Minelli’s feature on ‘Mama’.

My Chem’s brilliance in their live shows didn’t end at The Black Parade is Dead!. Just take a look at their 2011 set at the Reading and Leeds Festival, following their Danger Days tour. The whole set is riveting, with the band dressed in their Killjoy uniforms (seeing the theatrical theme here?), launching themselves around the stage and driving the massive audience crazy. As per usual, Gerard Way is the perfect frontman, bringing us all the energy, sass and theatrics of a well-conducted stage show, which this, well, was.

I was lucky enough to secure tickets to see My Chemical Romance at their comeback show in Milton Keynes, which was supposed to happen this past June. Miss Rona unfortunately got in the way, but with the concerts since being rescheduled, I am so so SO ready to see one of my favourite bands ever perform what is sure to be an incredible show.


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records editor 2020/21 !! 3rd year film and english student. can be often found arguing about costuming in the avenue cafe or crying into a beefy novel in hartley

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