It’s an ordinary Monday afternoon in the UK seaside town of Portsmouth until a buzz of excitement hits local Gerard Way fans… Tonight, he will be playing tiny local venue The Wedgewood Rooms. The show is a warm up for Reading and Leads Festival and because he’ll be playing songs from his yet to be released album, phones and cameras are banned. Tickets went on sale at 9am the day before the show and sold out in a record breaking time of 20 seconds – many just couldn’t put their card details in quick enough. Since the split of My Chemical Romance, fans have been awaiting the return of Gerard Way and this was that adrenaline punched moment. Apart from a show in the US this was the first UK solo show for Gerard Way and a lucky 400 others.
Outside, the queue stretches down Albert road and around the corner as anxious eager faces wait. The support comes from Portsmouth’s The Bottom Line, who sing with American accents with a pop punk sound. They cover Taylor Swifts’ We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together – an odd choice.
As the lights begin to dim and act like search lights on the crowd, the atmosphere is intense. It’s like alien invasion as the hysterical and uncontrollable audience scream. The Hormones are already onstage before Gerard makes an appearance beginning with the heavy song Bureau. Gerard is looking smart and grown up in a navy blue suit and vibrant red hair, identical to his new album cover for Hesitant Alien. The well received Action Cat is one many would have heard as the official audio was released on Youtube. This is followed by Zero Zero and Millions, songs which were released online nearly a year ago.
At one point a colourful feather boa is thrown in Gerard’s direction, which he wears flaunting about. He tells the crowd how he appreciates them being there as many of the songs are from his new unheard album. At times some fans seem a little lost when hearing brand new tracks, although jump regardless of not knowing any words. Gerard at times seems to sense this uncertainty and encourages jazz hands, which the whole crowd participates in as if they were spellbound. Gerard is persuaded to put on a sparkly blue hat as he tells the crowd how hats don’t fit his head as his heads too big, he jokes that we already know that. Possibly the heaviest on the set list is Juarez, Gerard also offers a cover of The Jesus And Mary Chain’s Snakedriver. The first single to be released from his album is 80’s inspired No Shows which ends the first part of the show.
With a short encore the fans shout for Gerard to return to the stage. The song Brother is about Gerard’s brother and former bandmate Mikey Way and goes down well. Grungey Maya The Physic finishes off the spectacular night. Hesitant Alien is a new sound, a departure from My Chemical Romance although at times heavier songs such as Juarez are the closest it gets to MCR. Gerard Way’s new direction is a chunky, slower paced and upbeat reinvention of himself with nods to Bowie, he’s ready to take over again.
Hesitant Alien is released 30th September through Warner Bros.
Gerard Way & The Hormones // // Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms // 20/08/2014
Words > Sarah Stevens.