Photos by Katrina Wong Shue
Former My Chemical Romance front man, Gerard Way, performed his first solo show in Toronto at the Danforth Music Hall. It has been almost two years since Way took the stage with MCR, and too long since he graced Toronto with his presence. To showcase their support, fans began lining up as early as 7 AM. By the time doors were opened, the line wrapped around the corner. The venue was packed with people from all generations and almost everyone was sporting an MCR merchandise of some kind.
Way and his new band which he calls The Hormones only performed songs from Hesitant Alien, and it’s clear he traded his emo anthems for Britpop gems. Songs like “Millions” and “No Shows” were like an ode to 70s glam rock, while “Maya the Psychic” and “Drugstore Perfume” reminded me of the post punk era of the 80s. Although, Way his emo days are behind him, his black suit with the slim coloured tie was kind of reminiscent of the “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge” era.
I’ll admit at times, his performance wasn’t the greatest, but the crowd hardly noticed. Everyone (including myself) was just excited, almost relieved to see him performing again. And say what you want about the pop-punk kids of the mid-2000s, but there’s one thing that remains from the scene – the unshakeable dedication for music and the bands that came along with it. That same devotion has followed Way into his solo project which isn’t ending anytime soon. Way announced after their tour in Russia, he’ll start working on album number two.
If all else fails, Way can tackle motivational speaking next. Never to shy away from discussing his battle with mental illness – he urged everyone to get the help you think you’ll need. “I didn’t think I was gonna make it to 25,” he said. ‘Then you make it to the other side and you find out what life can be like’. He showed his support for transgender kids and encourages the crowd to make kindness their art. The between song speeches proved the rock star is a regular guy tackling everyday issues. And I believe these confessions makes you feel less alien in the world. Thanks Gerard!