For a heady period from about 2006 to 2008, My Chemical Romance seemed ready to truly run the mainstream-crossover rock world. Their third album, The Black Parade, proved a commercial megasuccess despite its unlikely form -- a concept album -- about some depressing substance -- a regretful cancer patient mourning from a hospital bed.
But what the New Jersey punk-scene graduates brought with that record was something sorely missing even from the work of the scene peers with whom they came up: fantasy, escapism, even glamour. With a complete creative vision from music to appearance to stage design, it was as though the band had sneaked David Bowie-style theatrics and even high camp to 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. Yes, there's the little "emo" word, which never really applied to My Chemical Romance, in sound, style, or attitude.
And then, MCR seemed to sort of disappear. Lead singer Gerard Way got married, his brother and bandmate Mikey seemed to drift in and out of the official lineup, and eventually the whole band announced a break from the stage.
In the ensuing years, they began work on their upcoming new album, Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, due out November 22. Problem is, two years in popular music is nearly a lifetime, and the band faces the task of having to reintroduce itself.
Its upcoming World Contamination Tour lands in South Florida on May 17, 2011 -- but not at an arena. The band's going back to its roots and doing a club tour, which means, in our case, Revolution in Fort Lauderdale.
You may be stoked about this, or you may be rolling your eyes. If you're in the latter camp, here are four reasons, in no particular order, to reconsider My Chem and this show:
4. What other band can make you feel cool about reading old Sandman comics?
There are some, probably, but we're down with MCR doing their part turning new readers onto Neil Gaiman's classic goth-fantasy graphic novel series.
3. Freddie Mercury is long gone, RIP, but MCR can prove a pretty decent salve for that wound.
Though they usually demur in interviews, there's no doubt that 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 left in Gerard Way's androgynous wail.
2. Their 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 particularly Lifetime-movie-esque vignette in which Gerard sang from a hospital stretcher. Yes, that borders on ridiculous -- or maybe crosses that border -- but with so many rock bands acting dour and just phoning it in onstage, someone's gotta entertain. We're sure they'll 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 its 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 live show megadecibel levels.