Former My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way covered The Jesus And Mary Chain as he played his first ever gig as a solo artist last night (August 20) at Portsmouth’s Wedgewood Rooms.
The singer announced the intimate warm-up show for his slot at this weekend’s Reading and Leeds Festivals on Monday (August 18). The gig sold out in record time, with Way’s spokesman telling NME that the tickets were all snapped up within 20 seconds of going on sale.
Fans arrived hours ahead of last night’s performance, some from as early as 7am, a full 14 and a half hours before Way took to the stage.
At the request of Way and his management, fans were asked to hand in their mobile phones and were told if they were seen to be taking pictures or filming the set, they would be removed from the venue.
Taking to the stage after local support band The Bottom Line, Way was backed by a four-piece band, all clad in white shirts and black ties, except the singer himself, who wore the blue suit he sports on the cover of debut solo album ‘Hesitant Alien’.
The set consisted of 11 songs in total, beginning with ‘Bureau’, a punky number that also serves as the opening track on ‘Hesitant Alien’. Recent single ‘Action Cat’ and the Britpop-endebted ‘Zero Zero’, followed.
‘Millions’ was up next, before Way performed ‘Juarez’, the night’s most rock ‘n’ roll number, and the track that feels closest to his work in My Chemical Romance. He then offered up the slow, Suede-like ‘Drugstore Perfume’, before unveiling ‘Get The Gang Together’, the night’s heaviest moment with a chugging guitar riff. He ended the first part of his set with new single ‘No Shows’ and a cover of The Jesus And Mary Chain’s ‘Snakedriver’.
Returning for a short encore, he performed ‘Brother’, which he revealed is inspired by his own brother and former bandmate Mikey Way, before finishing with album closer ‘Maya The Psychic’.
While Way kept stage chat to a minimum, he did tell the crowd he “missed all you guys”, later adding that he was “thankful to be able to do this again”.
Speaking to NME after the show, fan Rebecca Evans from Fareham said, “It was so amazing to see him in such an intimate venue. His new music is brilliant; it’s just the right mixture of punk, Britpop and rock. You can tell there’s so much of him in there.”
Hannah Russell from Hampshire added, “The new stuff is just brilliant. It’s a different direction, but you can totally see how he’s got there from what he did with My Chemical Romance.”
Alice Smith from Bournemouth said, “The new songs are great. Really catchy, really upbeat and they kind of sound like Pulp.”
Gerard Way played:
‘Get The Gang Together’
‘Maya The Psychic’