My Chemical Romance - Manchester Academy - 8.4.05

Rock music has just found a god worthy of your dedication. That man is Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance and he's here in Manchester preaching his gospel of prison rape, tortuous school days and infallible friendships to the assembled masses. Dressed in an outfit which can only be described as a bullet proof straight jacket it brings the two classic MCR traits together - insanity & madness and an all consuming belief that you can only rely yourself.

The last time we met Gerard he was talking about his battle with the booze and medication and how he's come out stronger the other side facing the world sober. It's this flawed genius and rawness that the kids empathize with. MCR weren't always the force to be recognized with that they are today. When they first left New Jersey and came across to the UK they did so as a run of the mill emo band who hit all the right switches, but never truly stood out enough to make an impact. It was to be expected though as "I Brought You My Bullets You Brought Me Your Love" was recorded within 3 weeks of the band forming.

Tonight, the bands 3rd visit to the city in just over 6 months, is an all conquering strut after the success of "Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge". A tour of glory which has seen them take the US and UK by storm. On one hand you think a snotty little punk band from New Jersey shouldn't be playing on TRL, Letterman and the like or even selling out 2000 capacity venues each night with ease. But then they arrive on stage with the dual guitars multiplied by the sound of 100, each song rattled through twice it's normal speed and still the crowd sing along to every single word and syllable that Way screams out. It's a religious experience except that this time "You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison", "Helena" and "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" are sung out loud and proud without a mumbling congregation unsure of what comes next or whether they really believe in what they're singing.

My Chemical Romance have only just started to get the recognition they deserve and that momentum is going to propel them above and beyond our expectations. There's already talk of a concept album based around direct notions like salvation, retribution, damnation and how the band saved Gerard's life. On the basis of tonight's show in Manchester the karma is reaching out to a new generation.

Alex McCann
Photos: Karen McBride

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