Thursday, June 16, 2011

Music: My Chemical Romance "World Contamination Tour" concert review

Like many artists, Gerard Way, frontman for My Chemical Romance, had a cloistered childhood. His grandmother Elena was his mentor and close friend, and, as a kid, Way reportedly figured that everyone dies alone. The backstory makes attending an MCR concert a touching experience; if the cheering fans are any measure, Gerard now has all the company he could ever want.

With my friends SpookySquid and ZiggyZeitgeist, I attended MCR's "World Contamination Tour" stop at Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I thought it'd be fun to recount some of the sights and sounds of that fateful night...

My Chemical Romance has sold millions of albums worldwide and usually tours with the likes of MUSE and Blink-182, so it was a little jarring to see them play a mid-size club like Revolution Live. On the other hand, it offered fans a golden opportunity to get closer to MCR than if they were playing, say, the BankAtlantic Center.

The downsides of a small venue like Revolution were apparent as soon as we entered the parking lot, where a disorganized, spiralling queue turned into chaos as soon as people started jumping and cutting the line. Security for the place wasn't much better; they made us leave SpookySquid's plastic Killjoys-themed blasters (pictured below) in the car, but performed only cursory frisks of the entrants. Hopefully they'll realize that someone could sneak in any gun they wanted with a small-of-back holster.

Mental note: if the venue that a chart-topping, world-famous band is playing at has the following sign, be sure to know where the fire exits are:

Fans were stacked like cordwood, even in the second-story balcony of the club:

The concert itself was great, if a little more lo-fi than people have come to expect from such a visually-oriented band: the only stage adornments were the "World Contamination" flag and a Killjoys helmet. The onstage lighting was surprisingly effective, though, and even with the sparse production, there wasn't a bad seat in the house.

As for music, MCR played songs from both their new album and their back catalog (including hits like "Welcome to the Black Parade" and "Helena"). Gerard's voice was drowned out by the instruments at times, and the overall mix was incredibly loud. My friends and I were wearing earplugs, and were still able to hear the performance without a problem - the decibel level actually exceeded that of the shooting range we had visited earlier in the day.

If you've never heard MCR, the band claims Queen, David Bowie, and other rockers as influences, and the fingerprints of the '80s are all over their work. "House of Wolves" for instance, borrows a progression from KISS's "Detroit Rock City," and my favorite performance of the night, "Summertime," had more than a little bit of The Cure in it:


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