Way and his band The Hormones arrived in Southampton on the second, and penultimate, night of a short, three-date tour. The first night was at Birmingham’s O2 Academy on the 20th, with the final night coming at the O2 Academy in Brixton on the 23rd. This short tour follows on from a very successful 2014 for Way, who launched the start of his solo career at the beginning of the summer.
Support came from Welsh/American alternative rock band No Devotion. They stormed onto the stage at eight o’clock to a few cheers from the curious, unsuspecting crowd. The curiosity soon vanished though as soon as the band jumped straight into their first track. Frontman Geoff Rickly, formerly of Thursday, was active throughout the short, half-hour set; head banging along to guitar solos and encouraging crowd participation through clapping along to the beat of their anthemic tracks. Very few probably expected to hear the sheer quality that No Devotion brought to the Guildhall stage. Each and every track performed sounded like a viable future hit single. The tracks were powerful, performed expertly, and one in particular was being whistled, hummed and sung by many during the interval before Gerard Way took to the stage – ‘10,000 Summer’. With tracks like this one, there is no doubt that No Devotion will be making huge waves once their debut record comes out later this year; highlighted by the fact that they left the stage to rapturous applause.
Headline act Gerard Way took the stage at nine o’clock to ear-splitting screams from dozens of adolescent female fans. The charismatic frontman instantly encouraged the crowd to increase their volume before jumping straight into ‘The Bureau’. Fans young and old burst into life and were bopping up and down like Jack-in-the-Boxes, singing along to their idols new hits. Punk-pop anthem ‘Action Cat’ followed to the delight of the energetic crowd. Way maintained the
upbeat environment, before bringing it dow a notch or two, coincidentally after taping a bouquet of red flowers thrown to him by a young fan to his mic stand, for ‘Drugstore Perfume’. The showman, donning his familiar bleached-blonde look, was sure to show his appreciation to his loyal fans at every given opportunity, thanking them for their support since the launch of his solo career. Despite the move away from the emo-scene associated with MCR, his countless fans donning their t-shirts, hoodies and wristbands of his former band, all seem to enjoy his new, revitalised, rock-and-roll sound.
To the delight of his adoring fans, a teenage girl dressed in a pink monkey suit joined Way on stage to tap the tambourine for ‘Get The Gang Together’, which really got the crowd going again. And never one to disappoint, Way also treated the Guildhall to a new track, ‘Cheap Lights’ – a slower, more emotive song than many of the others performed on the night, that fans were able to wave along to.
Gerard Way has truly transformed himself into a true artist in his own right. There is no denying that his work with My Chemical Romance will go down in 21st Century rock history; but his new rock-and-roll, Britpop inspired sound could lead him back up to those dizzying heights. As always, Gerard Way did not disappoint.