My Chemical Romance House of Blues May 20, 2011
See Friday's Black Parade in our slideshow.
Less than a third of the way through Friday night's show, as the dark and ominous riffs of "Mama" faded out, vocalist Gerard Way dropped to the floor, and the stage lights abruptly went out. It was so abrupt, it seemed as though a fuse might have blown.
The stage slowly began to illuminate, and guitarists Frank Iero and Ray Toro began softly strumming their guitars. As the tune grew in intensity, Way crawled toward the edge of the stage and began lifting himself up, using the mike stand as leverage.
Just when the instrumental reached its climax, Way leapt up, threw his arms into the air in dramatic fashion and screamed. The crowd followed along, shouting and cheering as the spacey tones of "The Only Hope For Me Is You" began to resonate through the building.
This is rock and roll for the 21st century, and its fans expect theatrics with their music. And My Chemical Romance isn't exactly lacking in that department.
Watching a band develop is a lot of fun, and MCR have done just that. Yet, they have managed to stay true to their roots while doing so. Sure, their new album The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys sounds nothing like any of their prior work, but the familiar themes are all still there: Vampires, dystopian societies and, of course, a permeating theme of not letting the bastards get you down, which has been the band's manifesto since its inception in 2001.
The last time we saw MCR was in 2006. This time around, five years later, they are promoting the new album, a sleeper-hit follow-up to 2006's critically acclaimed The Black Parade.
And they are doing so in dramatic fashion. Friday night, at a sold-out House of Blues, MCR put on the most pulse-pounding, fan-fanatical and by-and-large entertaining shows Aftermath has seen at the venue since the Dead Weather rocked the house just over a year ago.
From the first song, MCR had the crowd chanting along, in unison, to every word of such infectious tunes as "Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)," which may very well be the catchiest song of the last decade. Look it up if you don't believe us.
The entire night was a colossal singalong like nothing we've ever heard, chock full of sweat and tears (of joy, we assume), without any blood (at least, not that we saw). While many critics give MCR and their fans a hard time, writing off the band as "emo," unoriginal and altogether too radio-friendly for their precious ear canals, the band has unquestionably figured out how market albums, sell out venues and keep crowds happy.
And they, along with their fans, have had a lot of fun in the process.