Written By: Michael and Terri Gonzales
The infamous My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way made his way to Chicago’s historic Vic Theatre during the second stop of his current U.S. solo tour as Gerard Way and The Hormones. Since early 2013 when My Chemical Romance announced their breakup, millions of fans were left crushed and wondering if they would ever have the chance to see or hear music from any members of their favorite band again. Thankfully, such as with all things in life, when something wonderful comes to an end there is always a new beginning. Multiple My Chemical Romance members have embarked upon new musical endeavors releasing albums and going on tours in the process giving fans something completely new and fresh while still brandishing their MCR roots. MCR rhythm guitarist Frank Iero went on to form FRNKIERO AND THE CELLABRATION. Gerard Way’s younger brother and MCR bassist Mikey Way started the group Electric Century. Former MCR lead guitarist Ray Toro has released a few solo tracks over the past couple of years as well, and has stated that his solo album will out sometime later this year.
Despite those numerous ongoing solo projects from the other MCR members, fans desperately wanted to know what frontman Gerard Way had in store. Thankfully those fan’s prayers were answered last summer when Way announced he was hard at work on his debut solo album. Way released ”Hesitant Alien” late last September 2014 on Warner Bros Records to an overwhelming response from his diehard legions of fans and followers. Once again Way showed the world his diverse realm of musical talents by creating a vintage toned, guitar heavy rock and pop inspired album capturing the essence of and paying homage to some of his earliest musical inspirations in life. Despite writing the majority of the album on his own, Way gathered up a group of stellar musicians to form his backing band, The Hormones, including former MCR keyboard and percussionist James Dewees handling keyboard duties, Ian Fowles from the well known ska band The Aquabats on guitar, former MCR tour and session drummer for their last two years as a band Jarrod Alexander on drums, and Matt Gorney on bass duties.
Diehard fans were already posted up outside of the Vic’s entrance many hours before doors opened. By the time doors were opening the line had extended nearly three city blocks down Sheffield Avenue as eager fans could barely control their excitement. For many of them this was their first time seeing Gerard perform in years, let alone his first ever solo performance in Chicago. In a matter of minutes the venue was jam packed with swarms of fans filing into every nook and cranny they could in hopes of staking out the best view point for the show. The merch line extended up multiple flights of stairs just moments after doors opened as well.
These were some devoted fans to say the least, and thankfully despite the massive lines and crowd everyone remained fairly civil amongst each other which typically is not the case at a lot of shows. Nonetheless, the show was about to be underway and the entire building was overflowing with positive energy and excitement.
Kicking off the night’s festivities were the Tulsa, Oklahoma natives Nuns who are promoting their debut full length album “Opportunities” on Passive Recordings. Nuns are an up and coming rock group whose music creates a bit of an atmospheric effect. Their tranquil rhythms blended into a sonic haze that brought a surreal trance like vibe amongst the venue. Nuns for the most part keep things very simplistic and modest with their stage approach adding to the effects of their music. Halfway into their set however lead vocalist and guitarist Hank Hanewinkel lll cut loose with some head banging and mild thrashing to complement some of their heavier breakdowns. Ultimately the crowd seemed to love every minute of Nuns performance. The relatively unheard of rockers from Tulsa certainly left a lasting impression on this sold out crowd as many patrons could be seen flocking to Nuns merchandise table immediately after their set. Nuns unique infusion of rock was the perfect pairing to complement the headliner, Gerard Way and The Hormones, and the crowd seemed to fully agree as rampant cheers erupted after each of their songs.
Shortly there after, the lights went dim and The Hormones made their way onto the stage jamming out “Hesitant Alien’s” intro track “The Bureau” as the crowd went wild and surged forward. The Hormones were all decked out in matching white button shirts and black ties providing a classic and classy appeal. A backdrop displaying Gerard’s signature Lola character adorned the stage appearing to be staring down upon the band. Within the blink of an eye the man of the night Gerard Way made his grand entrance onto the stage donning a black suit and red tie as the venue went absolutely insane.
Gerard wasted very little time warming up as he immediately immersed himself into his performance. Swiftly gliding into “Action Cat” followed up by “Zero Zero” the crowd’s cheers were reaching near deafening levels as Gerard kindly thanked the fans in between each song. He also used his platform rather wisely through singing safety jingles about helping up people that may fall in the crowd, to even addressing transgender, lesbian, and gay rights promoting equality for all. Way used his influence in an extremely positive manner which is an act that many other artists could learn from.
Gerard Way and The Hormones grooved their way throughout the entire “Hesitant Alien” track list throughout the night. The group put on an extremely solid and well rehearsed performance with an upbeat energy that was so contagious everyone in the building could not help but at least bob their heads in sync to pop styled anthems. It was later on in the set during “Get The Gang Together” that Gerard unleashed one of his classic My Chemical Romance style screams that sent chills down the backs of the countless fans in attendance. Way has certainly matured musically as an artist, but proved he is more than capable of still producing his classic signature styled vocals and much more. The evening was finished off with an encore giving the fans one last treat to top off their incredible night of music.
In the end, Gerard Way and The Hormones, along with up and comers Nuns, both put on amazing performances. Gerard Way without a doubt has shown the world once again that he is nowhere near done with making music. There was a mob scene of easily 500 or more fans that immediately descended upon the outside of Gerard’s tour bus that was conveniently parked directly outside of the venue. Unfortunately for them, Gerard was unable to perform any sort of after show signing. Nonetheless, all of them had just experienced a fantastic performance from Nuns and Gerard Way and The Hormones that is unlike any other tour out there. Both acts have their own unique twist on rock and roll that needs to be both seen and heard to be truly experienced. Be sure to catch Gerard Way and The Hormones along with Nuns as the show will certainly not disappoint. Take note as Gerard Way and The Hormones are well on their way to leaving the same type of legendary impression upon the music world that Way has previously done with My Chemical Romance.
Be sure to check out the photo galleries from the show: