November isn’t a great month. Crisp cold air, making scarves (and socks) very necessary. It’s definitely not the weather for queueing, but thousands of fans still did, for the chance to catch their hero, Gerard Way, up close, on his first solo UK tour.
Here at Hit The Scene, we’re interested in the music you care about, and in doing so; your opinions on it. So we decided to let a few fans (we’re calling them ‘Hesitant Aliens’) take the reins, and write about their experiences at the shows. Emotional, awe-inspiring, and downright awesome, their stories are what makes music worthwhile. Read ’em and weep.
In the cold, small hours of November 5th. devoted fans had already started to line the pavement with blankets and beverages and things to last them the night whilst eagerly awaiting the arrival of former “My Chemical Romance” frontman; Gerard Way. As the day progressed. the queue grew longer and by late afternoon trailed down the street and well around the corner, the type of devotion that would be expected for stars such as David Bowie, the likes of which seem to have inspired Way’s latest album “Hesitant Alien”
As the fans filed into the venue, cold but ever enthusiastic Darlia took to the stage, a sounds perhaps closely relatable to The Smashing Pumpkins and often with slightly Oasis-esque vocals which won over Gerard’s adoring fans.
As the fans awaited their hero, hushed murmurs could be heard through the crowd and chanting and singing. Finally the lights went low and the ever Charismatic Gerard Way took to the stage, dressed head to toe in a suit, looking rather dapper with his stage persona comparable to that of the late Freddy Mercury. As he finished the opening track “The Bureau” his fans raised their hands revealing a huge crowd of “Thank You” written in sharpie; showing that there was no love lost from his former glory days of My Chemical Romance. Next came what can only be described as a fan favourite “Action Cat” and as Way tore through his set, despite the album having been out only little over a month his ever-adoring fans sang along to every word. The only time the crowd fell silent was when Gerard threw in a James Cecil cover of “The Water is Wide” as the fans listened in awe and his vocals filled the room.
Finally Gerard closed the show with a cover of “Snakedriver” in which a few fans joined in, a homage to the musicians that had inspired Gerard’s solo album. As Gerard left the stage fans chanted his name and clapped and stamped until the floor felt as thought it was shaking, finally to the delight of the crowd he emerged to sing a song that isn’t on the album named “Dasher” before leaving the stage for good.
As the night drew later many fans waited eagerly at the barrier in hope to meet their idol. Finally a sleepy looking Gerard emerged to sign for and talk to his clearly overwhelmed fans who showered Way with praise, letters and gifts, a love that certainly wasn’t one-sided as Gerard took the time to meet each and every fan that waited inside the venue, hug them and talk to them individually, thankful for each and every one of them. As the night drew to a close it was clear that Way had risen from the ashes of his former band’s glory with something incredible that could immortalize him as one of history’s great frontmen with a relationship with the fans like no other.
– Alex Keymer
There’s a certain kind of energy in the room before an artist takes the stage. Most of the time it’s an explosive mix of anticipation, euphoria, and tension. Some people stare wide-eyed, some have the biggest smiles on their faces. The energy at the O2 Academy in Oxford as the crowd awaits Gerard Way on thursday night summed up in one word? Positive. Everyone is happy.
And as the lights finally go out and Gerard’s band The Hormones start playing before the singer steps in front of the mic, it becomes pretty obvious that this positive energy bounces back and forth between him and the fans. Right from the beginning there’s not only interaction, there’s exchange; through the music, and whenever Gerard speaks directly to the audience. ‘Hesitant Alien’ might not be a concept album but Way is on a mission to share ‘good vibes’, encourage creativity, positivity, and most importantly empowers his fanbase to be themselves and be proud of it. Bold statements aren’t necessary, yet they always sound sincere. Just like the music itself. It is noisy, messy, fuzzy, at times; it might go against expectations, yet it is Gerard’s. And somehow, it not only works, it fits. Perhaps by not fitting at all.
– Anna Milanollo
I had been queuing for 17 hours when the security finally let us in to the venue, it had been a cold and long day so we were all very ready to see our hero live. The support act, a band named Darlia kicked off, and they did an alright job.
The real fun began when Gerard’s bandmembers – also known as the Hormones – came on stage and started playing the intro of ‘The Bureau’. The crowd went mental when Gerard finally appeared, he was so energetic and his voice was perfect. Sadly, there were some technical problems that had to be fixed, in Gerard words; ‘the drums sounded like a wet farting noise’. Gerard spend a lot of time interacting with the crowd, which was amazing. He spoke about young women and the difficulties they have to go through, about body shaming and mental illness. There was this huge disco ball hanging in the venue, and Gerard demanded the tech guys to turn it on, which made everything look even more special.
He put his heart and his soul into every single song, and the crowd sang along as loud as they could.
– Lola de Grunt
CARDIFF STUDENTS UNION
Arriving on stage in trademark suit and tie, Gerard launched straight into The Bureau from the Hesitant Alien album. With his backing band, The Hormones, at full throttle he launched seamlessly into the high energy Action Cat and Zero Zero.
Picking up the pink feather boa which was thrown on stage by a fan, he grinned and laughed saying “I can’t sing in these they’re restrictive and hot, just like the sleep scarf”. Getting the reference [from Twitter], the audience went wild.
With the audience firmly in his grasp like a conductor with a baton, Gerard prowled the stage with an energy and sassiness that showed he owned it. The fans responded in kind by jumping around and singing their hearts out to each song.
He finished the set with Jesus and Mary Chain’s Snake Driver, which was rapturously received, an encored with Dasher – girl and reindeer love.
After seeing him at his first solo headlining gig at Portsmouth’s Wedgewood Rooms where he was taking his first steps of his solo career, to Cardiff where his stagecraft skills honed from his MCR days still shone through. He was confident, relaxed and seems to have grown into a solo performer with style and stature
– Beth Cottee
CARDIFF STUDENTS UNION
After queuing for 8 hours in the rain, the venue was a warm welcome, as was being one row from the barrier. Darlia kicked the show off with a grungy, bass-y bang, “I’ve Never Been To Ohio” is still stuck in my head after a week and a half! Definitely would recommend giving these guys a listen when their album drops.
Never have I ever been so excited for an entrance than I was in that moment. The Hormones mounted the stage first and lead into “The Bureau” while the entire venue screamed and whistled. And then he walked out, clad in the appropriate Hesitant Alien blue suit, pink shirt and striped tie, and the room exploded. As expected, Gerard fell into his stage persona like a duck takes to water; giving inspirational snippets between songs, and making a lot of people cry (myself included) during the intro and performance of Drugstore Perfume. Action Cat, No Shows and Maya the Psychic were entirely mesmerising, Gerard’s vocals being perfect to a ‘T’ exactly as you would expect, and even on top form despite his (utterly fabulous) dad-dancing.
It’s funny how an hour can just slip past when you’re having the most insane, surreal experience of your life. After fast-paced chants of “GERARD WAY” the band returned for an entertaining encore about a “girl who works in Starbucks who fell in love with a reindeer” according to Gerard, which, unsurprisingly, went down a hit.
A total plus on what had already been one of the best days of my life was that Gerard was able to sign behind the venue for a while. Beyond what I expected, I was one of the lucky ones who managed to spend 30 seconds with him, and I can confirm he is everything you’d hope he is; a real gent. I managed to sneak a picture after we spoke, but I’m hoping I might get another chance to take a proper one soon (ROLL ON JANUARY!)
– Lauren Watts
I saw Gerard at KOKO in London and I can safely say it was the best night of my life. Gerard is my inspiration and idol, so having the opportunity to see him perform was incredible. He started his set with ‘The Bureau’ and ended with ‘No Shows’, but came back out for an encore called ‘Dasher’ which he told us was about a worker at Starbucks who falls in love with a reindeer… It was weirdly amazing. Gerard talked about how proud he is of the people who aren’t afraid to be themselves; this is something I am so grateful for because he inspires me to be whoever I want to be. He also mentioned that he had made every crowd promise him they will never comment negatively on another person’s body, he really tried to connect with us and I loved that.
He has definitely not lost his performance skills from his MCR days; he loses himself in the music and still does the ‘putting his hands in the air and shaking them’ thing. You could feel that he meant every word he sang, the atmosphere he created was amazing. Thank you to Gerard for the best night of my life and one I will never forget.
– Georgie O’Neill
Travelling to London for Gerard Way’s show was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
The crowd was buzzing once we got inside KOKO, everyone pushing to get a better view of the eccentric frontman, and you could feel the energy in the air. The first band, Darlia, were pretty good. I found myself being reminded of The Charlatans, but heavier, and Chantal Claret was amazing. She didn’t fail in her task of working up the crowd, she had the whole building jumping, and by the time her set was over, the anticipation of Gerard was suffocating.
The wait was worth it. Gerard put on one hell of a show, powering through his album and working the crowd up with his famous ‘sass’. Even when he received an onslaught of socks from the crowd, he was undettered.
He had the crowd dancing and bouncing, singing every single word and he moved a fair few people to tears during his performance of “Piano Jam”, a song that really proved his talents, but the real winner of the night was No Shows. I could barely hear Gerard as the crowd sang so loud, it was incredible!
Gerard Way is still one of the greatest frontmen the world has seen.
– Vikki Armstrong
Thank you to everyone who contributed to this piece. HTS xo
Like our site? Please like our Facebook page! <3