By Natalya Jones
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For a heady period from about 2006 to 2008, My Chemical Romance seemed ready to truly run the mainstream-crossover rock world. Its third album, The Black Parade, proved a commercial megasuccess despite its unlikely form — a concept album — about a regretful cancer patient mourning from a hospital bed.
With a complete creative vision from music to appearance to stage design, it was as though the New Jersey punk-scene graduates had sneaked David Bowie-style theatrics and even high camp into the "active rock" format.
Unfortunately, many grizzled rock critics and fans didn't get that far, seeing instead a youngish, intensely devoted fan base and a bunch of misapplied genre labels. And then, MCR sort of disappeared. Lead singer Gerard Way married, his brother Mikey drifted in and out of the lineup, and eventually the band announced a break from the stage.
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In the ensuing years, they created Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. Problem is, two years in popular music is nearly a lifetime, and the band faces having to reintroduce itself.
Its upcoming World Contamination Tour lands in South Florida on Tuesday — but not at an arena. The band is going back to its roots and doing clubs. You're probably stoked about this. For the doubters, here are four reasons, in no particular order, to reconsider My Chem and this show:
4) Which other bands make you feel cool about reading old Sandman comics?
There are some, probably, but MCR does its part turning new readers on to Neil Gaiman's classic goth-fantasy graphic novel series.
3) Freddie Mercury is gone, but Gerard Way is a decent salve for that wound.
Though they usually demur in interviews, there's no doubt that the guys in MCR are big-time Queen fans. The Black Parade was full of roller-coaster melodies that dipped and peaked with an elasticity reaching "Bohemian Rhapsody" status. Mercury may be irreplaceable, but there's a trace of his spirit in Gerard Way's androgynous wail.
2) The shows always promise over-the-top visual drama.
The Black Parade's supporting shows featured matching military costumes, ticker-tape showers, pyrotechnics, and even a vignette in which Gerard sang from a hospital stretcher. They'll surely find a way to squeeze in some arena-worthy staging even on Revolution's relatively small stage.
1) Hey, there's the music too.
Every My Chem album promises a dramatic revamping of sound. It's likely that the band's almost-out new album, Danger Days..., promises a near-180 yet again. Or maybe not. Lead single "Na Na Na" sounds more epic and more like an action-movie theme song than much of the group's previous material. But it's really just further exploration of the band's love affair with chant-worthy, extra-large anthems. It'll go down particularly well at a live show's megadecibel levels.