hmv.com reviews... Gerard Way @ Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
Former My Chemical Romance singer Gerard Way made his live solo debut last night (August 20th) in front of 400 fans in Portsmouth, the show sold out in 20 seconds, but we were there to take it all in and here's our full review...
Gerard Way. Once singer with My Chemical Romance, now solo with a new album named Hesitant Alien due for release in the coming weeks.
Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms. Nice and intimate.
Any good supports?
Local pop-punkers The Bottom Line. Given this was a crowd only there for one reason and rabid with excitment for that, they did very well, with some sugary choruses and driving riffs, they actually had everyone singing along by the end. If they brave out every gig like that, they'll go far indeed.
Was it full? And how were the crowd?
It sold out in 20 seconds, so yup, it was full. The crowd had been asked to surrender their mobile phones at the door, meaning the crowd were even more attentive than usual. The new songs went down superbly, with the crowd in great voice, even though they've only heard two of the songs. Way's stage presence has always been ultra-magnetic, he might be solo now, but that hasn't changed.
So what was the set like? What did he play?
10 songs in all. He kicked off with 'Bureau', the opening track from Hesitant Alien, before heading straight into single 'Action Cat'. He then previewed seven more tracks from the record, including Blur esque 'Zero Zero', the rocky 'Drugstore Perfume' and the groove-led 'No Shows'. True to his word, Way aired no My Chemical Romance songs, but did treat the crowd to an intense cover of The Jesus and Mary Chain's classic 'Snakedriver'.
Sonically, this is a more disciplined and tighter sound, there is a lot less pomp, a lot less flamboyance, but more invention, more groove and a much broader range of influences. There's plenty of Bowie in there, the wry wit of Pulp, the experimental edges of Devo and Gang Of Four, and the rhythms of Talking Heads. The songs are varied, but universally excellent.
Any good between song banter?
Way wasn't overly talkative, that was probably down to nerves, but he did thank the crowd numerous times and tell them that he was "thankful to still be doing this".
Did he put on much of a show?
It's a 400-capacity room, so there's no room for theatrics. Backed by a four-piece band, Way's flamboyant moves and electric stage presence was more than enough though.
What was the highlight of the set?
It was all a blast, but 'Drugstore Perfume' was particularly brilliant.
Where can I catch her next?
He's at Reading and Leeds this weekend. Going? Make sure you catch his set.