Gerard Way. Former My Chemical Romancer. Present Hesitant Alien. Future social issue icon. Former emo kids, remaining goth kids, and new fans gathered at the Danforth Music Hall to see the ex-MCR frontman in his solo glory. This wasn’t a place for the too cool for school; nay, for one night, this was a safe space for the broken, the beaten, and the damned.
With a gigantic portrait of the beautiful pink Lola serving as a backdrop to Gerard Way and The Hormones, things were underway with “The Bureau.” The image of Gerard Way tapping a tambourine against his thigh while singing to an alternative rock ditty surely contrasts the emotional wailing of his former days on stage, but we’d be lying if we said that there wasn’t a strong feeling of nostalgia swelling in the room.
As Gerard Way swept the stage in his black suit and crimson red tie à la “Helena,” the crowd danced with hands held high throughout the night. Between songs, Way gave supportive and encouraging talks about transgender issues and mental health awareness.
He expressed his appreciation for his fans for letting him make another album due to the success of Hesitant Alien. Camera phones were up in hopes to document the longtime coming return of Gerard Way to Toronto, and he welcomed the attention. Even after years away from the spotlight, he was a natural at engaging and controlling his audience.
“I didn’t think I was going to make it past 25 – never planned for it. I didn’t have love and then I found it, and it made things simpler and happier,” Way expressed before diving into “How’s It Going To Be.”
After playing a cover of Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Snakedriver,” Way and the band left the stage. Chants of “One more song! One more song!” gained momentum and never did it falter. As soon as the band stepped back on stage, the screams reached deafening levels. I mean, this was unlike any other cheering I have heard before, and I’ve been to a lot of shows.
“We had to go to the bathroom. If you really liked us, we’d come do one more for you,” Way laughed. And with that, the night ended with unreleased song “Don’t Try.”
(Featured Image by Eric Ray Davidson)