Molten chemistry

[ 11-12-2007 ]

My Chemical Romance hits its stride and put on an unforgettable show for the fans at Stadium Merdeka.


WE didn't come here to hang out? we came here to GET DOWN!” declared My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way during their concert in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday night.?

And get down they did, rocking out Stadium Merdeka in front of more than?

10, 000 fans. Presented by Channel X Pax and co-organised by Arianna Event Management and Galaxy Group, the concert was arguably one of the best rock concerts of the year.

Rare as they might be, Malaysians have experienced two genuinely good rock concerts this year. Brit alternative rock outfit Muse played a sold-out gig at Stadium Negara earlier this year, and now My Chemical Romance. With both concerts packing out their venues, it goes to show that there is a genuine demand for concerts by quality rock bands, and not just the usual Canto-pop artistes or pop divas with over-hyped cleavages.?

In Singapore this year, rock fans had numerous concerts, including Beastie Boys, The Cure, Linkin Park right to Megadeth and club gigs by The Rapture and Justice. It wouldn't be inaccurate to say that loads of Malaysians crossed the causeway for these shows. ?

So why is Kuala Lumpur such a dead town for rock gigs? ?

Make no mistake about it, Malaysians do know how to rock out and My Chemical Romance (MCR) is an amazing rock band, despite being unfairly tagged as just another 'emo band' in the mould of Fall Out Boy or Good Charlotte. ?

In fact, the band shuns the 'emo rock' tag that has been slapped on it, calling emo bands a bunch of “commercially-generated bands with bad haircuts and which can't sing to save their lives.”?

Sure enough, on the basis of Sunday night's performance, MCR is certainly a long way ahead of bands such as Good Charlotte (to name another 'rock' band that was recently here in KL). MCR may exude a teenage exuberance during shows, but its performance has a mature quality that marks the guys as top-drawer rock stars.?

Much of this is largely thanks to their talismanic frontman Gerard Way, who was an enigma on stage in KL. With his bandmates concentrating on playing their instruments, the spotlight was on Way almost the entire night; and he clearly relished the attention – confidently and almost arrogantly strutting around the stage like he owned it.?

Being cocksure onstage is one thing, but it takes a real showman to own the stage the way the 30-year-old lead singer did. His swaggering performance showed different personas – preening and posing like a circus ringmaster during the carnival-like Mama, kneeling on the floor in an almost pleading way during the anguished Cancer, and exuding arrogant pride during the hard-rocking songs.?

It's easy to be outshone with a lead singer as fascinating as Gerard Way, but to their credit, the rest of the guys were in no way shunted to the sidelines. Shaggy-haired guitarist Ray Toro even managed to steal the spotlight from Way briefly with a scorching guitar solo while guitarist Frankie Ieto and bassist Mikey Way (Gerard's younger brother) were no slouches either. In fact, so polished was the overall performance of the entire band that the absence of regular drummer Bob Bryar was hardly felt at all.?

Opening acts One Buck Short and Pop Shuvit also did a masterful job of pumping up the audience before the main show.?

Released in 2006, The Black Parade is MCR's most critically acclaimed and most popular album in their seven-year career, so it was no surprise that almost 80% of the songlist comprised songs from that album. In fact, the highlights of the show came when they played the hits from that album, including the epic Welcome to the Black Parade and I Don't Love You; though their other hits like Helena and I'm Not Okay were also well-received by the fans.?

The concert lasted just over an hour, and by the time they ended with the excellent Famous Last Words, most of us had already screamed our lungs sore, and had neck ache from too much head-banging – all genuine proof of an excellent rock concert. Here's hoping there'll be more in the future.

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