(Pic: My Chemical Romance's pre-Black Parade days)
My Chemical Romance - Liverpool Academy - 13.11.06

In Liverpool today Designer Magazine learns two very important rules 1) Not all emo's are fit 2) Intimate gigs to Americans mean very very big for us in the UK. On the upside we find possibly the cheapest pub in Britain ever situated just behind the venue.

Since the last time we saw My Chemical Romance they've suddenly become the biggest band in the world with the war on emo being about as justified as the war on Iraq as suddenly even indie kids admit to My Chemical Romance's brilliance with "Welcom To The Black Parade" single heading straight to number 1. Back at Leeds Festival though it was easy to see why the War On Emo was declared and although Panic! At The Disco left the Leeds legs unscaved (following a bottling the previous day at Reading), My Chemical Romance's set was lacklustre from the band we'd seen several times previously and when they got bottled it said it all.

It's all the above which means that this show was make or break for them in the UK. Thankfully they deliver a set which to us reminds us much more of the band we first witnessed than the one we saw at Leeds and Give It A Name Festivals. Proving that they can still touch our hearts with the new material they manage to take us on a rollercoaster of emotions with the "Black Parade" and all it's euphoria and Queen-esque pomposity being almost overshadowed by a truly upsetting song "Cancer", which we're not convinced they should have ever written but has such a profound affect on the people here tonight that many leave wiping tears from the eyes. For all the doubters that are out to suggest MCR are a pop band that mean nothing this is a song that puts them up there with Joy Division and The Smiths as spokespeople for a generation.

Along the splattering of new songs such as "Famous Last Words" and "I Don't Love You" which both offer a widescreen pop shine, but are still true to the mission of My Chemical Romance all the same, are some classic cuts from their breakthrough album "Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge". To us for all the critical acclaim that is written about "THe Black Parade" it's this album that for us is the essential listen and live "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)", "Ghost Of You" and "Helena" remind us of that truly intimate gig at Manchester Academy 3 a few years back.

Like all the best bands My Chemical Romance end the year again with everyone talking about the music, which is more than can be said about the likes of Fall Out Boy, and despite Panic! At The Disco giving them a run for their money Gerard Way and his band mates have nothing to worry about. Next years Arena Tour will be the real test for what is essentially an extremely personal and emotional album and if they can pass that test they'll be around for years to come

Alex McCann

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