Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Chemical Romance Discuss Next Single, Video: "Bulletproof Heart"


In an interview with MTV, My Chemical Romance confirmed that their next U.S. single will be "Bulletproof Heart."

Don't get too excited about its video's giving answers about where the one for "SING" left off just yet, though, Killjoys. According to Gerard Way, the band are unsure if they want to pick the story back up so soon; as, the fiction elements are secondary to what they portray metaphorically.

Of spacing the parts of the Killjoy story, Way said, "I like a gap. I think it should be a gap. And then I think that when you do get that final part, when the right song comes along, I don't know that it'll make perfect sense. It's not supposed to."

"Bulletproof Heart" was previously set to be the first single from Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. Plans changed when the "Art Is The Weapon" pre-album trailer was released with "Na Na Na..." in it to massive fan response.

XoXo
c.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cassie's Weekly Recommendations: Week Two

1. "Neat Neat Neat" [The Damned Cover] - My Chemical Romance, LIVE



The lovely Carrie, a long-time MCRmy bud of mine, was kind enough to share this great quality video of MCR's performing The Damned's "Neat Neat Neat" at the show she attended in Des Moines, Iowa.

The intro is hilariously awkward, but the cover itself is full of piss and awesomeness, and I love it. I was stoked when they played it during the show and at the soundcheck in Cleveland on April 17 and I got to see it for myself.

Not many people knew the words, it seemed, so heads-up to future show-goers: This is becoming a staple in their World Contamination sets!

Three cheers for MCR's doing classic Punk covers!

2. "Best Places to be a Mom" - Taking Back Sunday

Best Places To Be A Mom by adamdamnlazzara

Taking Back Sunday released their video for "El Paso" this past week and the band, who returned to their original line-up last March, have a new self-titled album set for release on June 28.

Many moons ago, vocalist Adam Lazzara posted the above clip on Soundcloud, and I have since listened to it many times. If you like "Best Places to be a Mom," you can purchase it by donating to Japan's relief efforts through Download to Donate.

3. "Planet Earth" - Duran Duran featuring Gerard Way, LIVE



It is late March, during my spring break from school, and yours truly is sitting in a car on the way to a casino where her mother wants to spend the weekend.

Imagine my relief when a Twitter message arrived that would give me something to do that night: Gerard Way would make a guest appearance at a live, streaming Duran Duran performance directed by David Lych on Vevo. Yes! I'm glad I brought my laptop!

This video saved my sanity for a while that night, and I still love listening to it. You can feel Way's excitement as he takes the stage, and he makes a lovely contribution to the song.

4. "Nausea" - Matt Skiba



Damn, Skiba. You sure do make a demo sound ace. I add this to my list this week mostly because the members of MCR got stoked about the SKIBA shirt I was wearing when I met them last weekend. Gerard mentioned that he's a "fucking awesome guy."

I agree.

Skiba's Demos, which was released last August, may be receiving new life soon. According to a tweet from the artist himself earlier this month, the new SKIBA record is complete!

5. "Bastards At The Gate" - The Architects



Described by vocalist/guitarist Brandon Phillips as "the best kind of song about the worst kind of people" at the recent MCR shows I attended, this song was among the best of opener The Architects' set.

The Architects, who are signed to MCR rhythm guitarist Frank Iero's Skeleton Crew Records, will continue to open for MCR for the duration of the North American Tour.

XoXo
c.

Unabridged Live Review/ Soundcheck & Meet-And-Greet Recap: My Chemical Romance / April 17, 2011 / Cleveland, OH

Because this is, as the title says, "unabridged" and, as a result, very long, I have added sub-heads that will allow you to skim ahead. Enjoy!

For a more concise review, check out my MyChemicalRomance.com Cleveland Fan Report.

Formal Review on ACRN.com
--
Chicago review here.

___

Somehow, my friends and I had managed to make it out of the show at Chicago's Aragon on April 15 alive, and while my friend Emily immediately passed out after that show, I spent most of the night awake writing my Tour Report for the MCR site, and still woke up around 8 a.m. because I was so excited for both the show I had just gone to and the one that was coming up the next day.

The drive to Cleveland started at 11 a.m. Central time and ended at about 6 p.m. Eastern time, and we were all exhausted from it as we collapsed into hotel beds and began sorting out our plans for the next day.

After the Chicago show and our rotten experiences with the crowd there, we had originally planned to line up for the Cleveland show at 6 a.m. to make sure we had front row and wouldn't have to deal with the craziness again. A very exciting Email changed our plans that night, however, and we didn't end up getting to the House of Blues until close to 11 a.m. the next day.

With stomachs growling, we stumbled against the city's strong wind to the front of The House of Blues, searching for its restaurant component. We spoke to the few people in the line at the front and I tried to help them understand skip-the-line as the wind whipped into and burned us. They told us the restaurant would not open until 4, so we made our way back down the block and around the corner where the skip-the-line group was crowded and huddled against the wind by the venue's side door.

It was a mob of color there with several Killjoys wearing masks atop their heads, brightly-colored clothes and vibrantly-dyed hair. On the whole, I felt like the Cleveland crowd embraced the Killjoy aesthetic more than the Chicago one, which made me proud of my home-state.

A couple people recognized my boots from the web and said "hello" as my friends and I passed in search of sustenance, which came to us in the form of a sports bar across the road from the stadium where the Cleveland Indians game was starting.

It was around that time when the shaking started. I had a really horrible feeling in my chest and stomach and my heart was beating rapidly. I didn't feel particularly nervous about meeting MCR again, but something was making so nervous I felt I would die. And the feeling persisted through the day as I barely ate then sat with my friends across from HOB at an artsy coffee shop until 3:00 p.m. when we went to our car to put our things away before the show.

SOUNDCHECK

As we had been instructed beforehand, we met at the front of the building outside the box office to be let in for MCR's soundcheck at 4 p.m.. As there had been in Chicago, there were - again - radio station winners who went in with us. Venue security tried to kick my friends and I out because we weren't with the radio group, so I hung back as if I were trying to get will-call tickets until I found the rep from Warner Brothers on whose list I was.

A word of advice to any road reporter winners: Find the WBR rep or member of MCR's team as soon as you can when you're about to go to the meet-and-greet. I got grief from venue staff both times; as, they don't really understand the situation and may have been informed about winners from local contests, but not about you.

When everything was finally clear, we were lined up with our groups. Mehdi called my friends and I over to make our group, then the other girl who had won the meet-and-greet through the MCR site lined up behind us. We waited outside the doors and listened as MCR played "Na Na Na...."

When the doors were opened for us, my friends and I were the first to go into the dark room. Having experienced the soundcheck before where we had to hang back by the soundboard, we didn't know exactly how far we were allowed to go, but no one was directing us, so we went straight to the tiny House of Blues floor then to the left side of the room. We hung back from the barricade as most of the others did except for a group of fans who went straight to the barricade on Ray's side and bounced and sang along as if it were the actual show.

Soundcheck Setlist:

Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)
Neat Neat Neat [The Damned cover]
Famous Last Words
Planetary (GO!)
DESTROYA

--

As with last time, it was so amazing to see the guys work, to see how they perfect all the tiny things for the show, but also joke with one another through the process.

When they played "Famous Last Words," the events of the day and the previous show finally just hit me. As I quietly sang along in the tiny room, I teared up, and - by the end of it - was smiling with tears rolling down my cheeks from the powerful song and how very healed it made me feel.

Leading up to these shows, I had been going through a really low point. In my life, I have a sort of cyclical depression, and prior to the shows, I had been living one of my lows for months longer than they usually last. I remember texting my friend just a few days before the shows and telling her desperately that I really hoped the MCR shows would cheer me up, because nothing in my life lately had been affecting me positively.

As I watched them play "Famous Last Words," I knew I would be okay. It just filled me and I felt kind of free from whatever had been gripping and holding me down. It was one of the most inspiring moments I'd had in the presence of MCR. I felt like no one else was in the room as they played, and the song spoke directly to me and comforted me.

MEET-AND-GREET

Following their playing "DESTROYA" one-and-a-half times, the members of MCR made their way from the stage via the stairs to the left, which would later be the same stairs skip-the-line people would use to enter the venue. My friends and I were in the second group to meet the band, and I found myself almost cowering away and moving farther from the guys before they came over for some reason. Haha!

Gerard, Frank and Mikey beat Ray to us and all shook our hands quickly. Frank spoke first saying, "Nice to see you again, as always." with a grin. He asked about my tour report and if I were going to do some sort of compare-contrast thing for the two shows.

Me: "Sorry you guys have to see my face twice so close together," I laughed.

G & F: "No, it's great!"

G: "You keep bringing those boots back," he noted as he eyed the boots I was wearing that he had recognized me from at the previous show. He actually spent most of the time he was standing beside me staring at the boots. At one point, I was talking to Frank or Mikey and felt his eyes, looked over, and -- sure enough -- he was staring at the boots. So, I lifted my leg and extended it a bit so he could see better. I was to the point where I was about to take them off and just give them to him. Haha!

When Mikey greeted me, he looked at my shirt and asked what it said, so I opened my jacket to show him, "Matt Skiba from Alkaline Trio," I revealed proudly. Gerard, Frank and Mikey all got excited and Gerard said he's a "fucking awesome guy."

As the three of them were talking to me, Ray was hanging back and talking to my friend Wes, explaining how he had hurt his foot. Wes told me that he had -- apparently -- just been rocking out onstage and landed on it wrong: An epic way to break one's foot.

I told Frank that I was the girl who had sent them "Sister To Sleep," and they all kind of exploded with excitement and started talking to one another about it. Frank told me the year and at which venue it was recorded, but I can't remember that now. He also told me that they are working on a project to celebrate their 10-years as a band, which will compile all kinds of snippets from their past that include rare things like "Sister to Sleep."

F: The version you sent is actually the only recorded version of that song!
Me: Oh? It's the ones fans have and we all love it.
F: We're looking for a lot of other things like that, but sometimes it's hard to remember what we're missing.
Me: If you guys need anything else, I'd be glad to send it along!

At that point, they started listing off things, many of which I missed because I had reached over to shake Ray's hand and talk to him. He was still beside my friend Wes as Mikey, Frank and Gerard had been hogging all the attention.

I zoned back in on the Mikey, Frank and Gerard listing of missing files and told them, again, that anything they needed, I could get to them if I had it ("Obviously, you can have it. It's yours," I laughed) then remembered a question I had been meaning to ask for years.

Me: Oh! Speaking of old stuff, I actually have a question. What was the deal with "Nine Volt Heart?"
G: It's a song that didn't make Bullets...
Me: I remember that. There was a link to it on the side of the old site that lead to nowhere...
M: Didn't it become something else? "Android..." something?
F: We played it once at the Loop Lounge.
G: *grins* It was bad.

They all shook my hand for a second time and thanked me before we got our picture taken. As they began to walk away, still kind of talking to me and to one another, Ray threatened me: "No talking shit!" I told them "I might" and all the guys made an uproarous "Ooooh!" sound. I laughed and reassured them that I had nothing bad to say about them, and as Ray walked past me, he shook my hand with both of his and grinned, telling me that he knew better.

Ray was, by far, the most encouraging of my review-writing. At the first show, he had told me, "I want to see that review!" and at this one, I could have sworn -- though I wasn't able to believe -- that before the guys left the floor to go backstage he had yelled, "Bye, Cassie!"

Be still, my heart.

BEFORE THE SHOW
After the meet-and-greet, my friends and I got to wait inside the venue until doors opened. If I had ever told myself that was something I'd get to do-- Holy shit. It was just unbelievable.

We sat on the floor and watched as The Architects soundchecked and were astonished when Frank came out with them to sing Black Flag's "Nervous Breakdown." It was absolutely thrilling. I discreetly took a blurry picture (LEFT) of it like a creep.

The tension beyond the venue doors started to mount and the security began lining up, so we stood up and took spots at the left side of the barricade, hoping no one would want to kill us as long as we didn't take the center.

People quickly filed in, all seemingly exasperated at the whole skip-the-line process, and it was close to time for the show to start.

THE SHOW

The Architects are more enjoyable up close, and I was glad they got to play for a tiny bit longer this round, but -at the same time- glad I wouldn't have to wait through two bands before MCR because I was way too excited for that.

Even during The Architects' set, the crowd's pressure began to grow. I ended up much farther toward the center from where I started from peoples' pushing in on the sides. My arms were compressed together, and I definitely didn't have room to move to the music as much as my body wanted to, but I was in heaven. There's no better place to watch a show from than from there.


To make this more concise, Since there are already two of my show reviews for this online already, some highlights of MCR's set included:

-Their cover of The Damned's "Neat Neat Neat," which it appeared not many in the crowd knew, but I knew it, so I was very happy.

-Two songs from Bullets! "Vampires Will Never Hurt You" and "Our Lady of Sorrows." Sorrows replaced "Cancer" in the band's two-song encore, which -- I believe -- was an excellent choice. Personally, I always just get kind of bummed out when I hear "Cancer." "...Sorrows" is its polar opposite and much more fitting with the energy of the rest of the show. Gerard announced that "You guys get this song because you're a bunch of bad-asses!"

-Frank's draping a pink boa that was thrown onstage around Mehdi's neck.

-Mikey's tons of eye-contact. Ray also made great eye-contact


-I believe it was during "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" when Frank's "trust me" line was up. He instead filled his mouth with water, walked to the edge of the stage and spat it all over us. Only slightly gross, mostly funny.

-Gerard's dance moves were in full-force. His jerky movements seemed wholly fueled by the music and he would do really cool and precise pantomimes in time with the music.

-Gerard's anti-elitism speech in which he asked to see new concert-goers and old fans alike and thanked the old fans for being nice to the new ones.

-The half-sung "Vampires will Never Hurt You" introduction: "One day our sun is gonna die. Until then, we walk the night."

-"The Ghost of You," which the band had not played in Chicago.

-"Bulletproof Heart:" I honestly don't think there is a better song with which they could have closed. It's just perfect and so positive. It sends you into the world filled with joy.

_________________

I left the show filled with absolute joy and certainty that it was absolutely the very best day of my life.

As I drove the entire night to get back to school, all I could think of was how hard it would be to return to "real life." I'm still kind of in MCR Lala-land.

XoXo
c.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Unabridged Live Review/ Soundcheck & Meet-And-Greet Recap: My Chemical Romance / April 15, 2011 / Chicago, IL

Because this is, as the title says, "unabridged" and, as a result, very long, I have added sub-heads that will allow you to skim ahead. Enjoy!

For a more concise review, check out my MyChemicalRomance.com Fan Report.


When my friends and I arrived in Chicago on April 15, we barely had time to check in to our hotel and to scarf down cheap Chinese food before we had to be on our way to Aragon Entertainment Center for our scheduled meet-and-greet with MCR at 4:30 p.m..

When we got there, the line was hidden around the corner of the building away from the main sidewalk, so we never got to see just how big it was (we would later when we got in it, and I'll say now "HOLY SHIT!"). My two friends and I, and about 20 others who had won a meet-and-greet through the local radio station, Q101, lined up in the rain immediately outside the venue's front doors and waited to be let in.

The inside the Aragon has a mosaic feel in design. It has dramatic teal and gold pillars at the inside entrance and side inlays that look as if they should hold fountains. Needless to say, we were visually distracted when we went inside, even just in the lobby, where we spoke to the very friendly Warner Brothers rep who had helped us when we met the band last time we were in Chicago.

As we waited there, we met two girls from Columbia, South America who were here following parts of My Chemical Romance's tour. They had previously done the "Road Reporter" job that I was about to do for the show that night and gave me some tips about it and gushed about just how fun it was for them. They told me they had 5 more shows left to see on MCR's current tour! Now, THAT is dedication!

Eventually, Mehdi, who does security for MCR, came out and briefed us on our expected conduct for the... SOUNDCHECK?!!?!

I had NO IDEA I was about the see MCR soundcheck! I thought I was going to meet them and that would be that. Since I had not been informed, I felt I were in the wrong place and was about to get more than I actually had won, but I was reassured, "No, you're with us" as we walked through the second entrance doors and toward the ornate steps that would lead to the Aragon's show room.

SOUNDCHECK

Low tones, a tumult of guitar revving and Gerard's wailing over them echoed through the lobby as we waited, wide-eyed with shock at what we were about to see. We were lead up the stairs and to the cavernous room where we would find ourselves squashed and sweating later, which was set up to look like some sort of plaza: The side walls and balconies looked like fancy turrets on the sides of buildings, the ceiling was painted like the night sky, and there were...swords jutting out above the stage? What? More jarring than the artificial landscape we were spat into at the top of the stairs was the sight of My Chemical Romance standing on the stage when we entered.

The members of MCR shuffled about the stage in their day-clothes, talking to one another calmly, critiquing the sound and light set-up early in preparation for the main event to take place late that night.

During soundcheck in Chicago, they played:

"Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)"
"Hang 'Em High"
"Planetary (GO!)"
and
"Our Lady of Sorrows"

I grinned the entire time, hardly able to believe what I was seeing in such an intimate environment. Not only was it amazing to see them play with so few other people in the room, but it was also eye-opening to watch their pre-show set-up process. I can recall many times when I have pressed my ear firmly to doors of venues from outside to hear what's going on within when bands soundcheck. It was nice to actually see it this time.

As they played, the group of fans stood by the soundboard in the half-lit room, which created a haze, making it hard for us to see the faces of the guys, which may have been for the best because it was such an awkward way of interacting with the music for fans. We were carefully watched and didn't really know what to do with ourselves. Despite how much "Our Lady of Sorrows" made me want to thrash and destroy things, I held still and simply clutched my heart, sang along very quietly and tapped my foot in complete ecstasy. I felt a tightening in my chest as I watched them, overwhelmed by the emotion from disbelief at my own luck as I soaked it all in.

The guys talked between songs, said hello to us and thanked us for coming out, mentioned tiny sound adjustments that needed to be made and James Dewees joked quietly over his mic, making the guys laugh several times.

MEET-AND-GREET

Before I knew it, they had put down their instruments and Gerard and Mikey were on the floor where we were, talking to a guest on the right side of the room, and Ray was on the other side, at the edge of the barricade, looking at a #SINGItForJapan t-shirt.

We were lined up in groups to meet and take pictures with the band as I received a welcoming hug from and spoke to the ever-helpful and extremely nice Lauren about our travel to Chicago and excitement for the show.

My friends Emily and Wes and I were the last group of people to meet the band. We watched as they made their way around the room and took pictures with each group. I was struck to finally see for myself Ray Toro's foot injury that I had heard about from fans online. He was a trooper as he limped his way across the room. If we weren't lined up, I would have walked to him to save him from having to travel more.

Gerard was the first to greet us. He shook all of our hands and greeted us. Hilariously, when he got to my friend Wes, he said he was "getting good vibes from this guy [Wes]." -- Hilarious.

When Mikey shook my hand, he had said, "Hi, I'm Mikey, but it came out sounding like he said "Hi, Mikey," which made me laugh.

Then Frank came and was grinning as he shook my hand. He mumbled something like "Nice to see you," but I didn't catch it fully.

When Ray hobbled up, I shook his hand and asked him if he were okay to which he confidently replied, "yes," holding his head high as he took his place at my side for the picture.

I looked over at the guys, who had moved to the side for the most part to find Gerard frowning at my boots. He backed up a couple steps and looked at them, then said, "Wait. I know those boots!"

"Yes!" I said with an excited smile. "I wore them last time I met you guys. Ray," I gestured toward him, "took a picture then."

Frank, who was still standing in front of me chimed in then, "Yeah! You're the Road Reporter, right?"

"I am," I confirmed and they all nodded or muttered something in realization.

Frank then jumped in between my friend and I, saying, "I'm going to squeeze in here, guys" and put his arms around us for the photo.

We took the picture and the guys began to walk away when I remembered that I swore I would ask Mikey about the time he went on the #MCRchat, a Twitter-based chat I created.

"Oh, Mikey!" I said last-minute as he walked by. He and Gerard both stopped and looked at me curiously. "I host #MCRchat on Twitter, and I promised my followers I would ask if you remember the time you invaded the chat."

"I do!" Mikey said with a grin and wide eyes.

Frank added, "I remember that night. It was at the [some location I can't remember that starts with a 'C']."

Mikey: "Yeah, I remember!"

I told him that we still talk about it and call it MikeyGate, which made Frank, Gerard and Mikey repeat back the word "MikeyGate" and laugh. "You call it Mikeygate?" Mikey had repeated back to me with a laugh, "Guys, they call it MikeyGate," he then told the others.

As they walked away, I heard Mikey trying to explain how #MCRchat works. Frank said something like "I don't even know how to do that," as Mikey explained it, oddly, as something we do "through text," which he pantomimed using his thumbs. Haha! I guess we know now that Mikey obviously uses Twitter through his phone.

The band made their way back across the floor as we waited to be lead back outside to get in line. As they walked to the other side of the room, Ray called to me, "I want to see that report!" I gave him a thumbs up and called back to them that I would see them again in Cleveland. Frank told me "No fun allowed tonight" jokingly and said he'd see us again in Cleveland.

THE LINE/VENUE STAFF FROM HELL

We left the meet-and-greet filled with absolute joy and rounded the corner to finally see the massive line, which crossed two filthy side lots of the building, went down a short block beside it, wrapped around the corner of the road and stretched blocks after that. We ended up in the middle of the first block of the line past the two lots, and I met a ton of fans I had met online on my way there.

It was really cool to finally put faces and voices with usernames, and everyone was very nice. Afterward, I heard from many that other fans weren't so nice once they got inside so I was grateful that everyone I met (Shyla, Tiffany, Olivia, Kira and a couple others whose names I did not get) were sweet.

Not so friendly, however, were the security guards for the venue. Post-concert, I have seen many complaints about just how vile they were, and my friends and I, despite being perfectly polite and doing as we were told, did not survive their wrath. I got a door slammed in my face by the huffy woman at the guestlist door even though I was on the list and there to pick up my photo pass, pushed out of the photo pit, despite my pass later, and my friend got threatened.

Later, I heard stories about the security outside when kids were waiting by the busses to meet MCR telling them things like "Why would they want to meet you?" and fabricating that the band wouldn't come out because they were "exhausted." I was later reassured that none of that had anything to do with MCR's camp. So, I hope no fans were hurt by it or took it to heart.

Personally, I don't think I'll be attending another show at The Aragon unless the staff there receives a SERIOUS attitude adjustment.

THE SHOW

When we finally got inside, we were about 20 or 30 rows back from the stage on Frank's side. We knew we would eventually move to a different spot in the crowd, so we didn't get too comfortable, but we allowed ourselves to enjoy a fairly relaxed and unblocked view of The Architects' and Neon Trees' sets.

The Architects, who played first are friends of My Chemical Romance's and signed to MCR guitarist Frank Iero's Skeleton Crew record label. They brought the gravel-voiced intensity of melodic punk music to the audience. Particularly crowd-capturing songs included "Bastards At The Gate," which singer/guitarist Brandon Phillips introduced as being "the best kind of song about the worst kind of people" and "Daddy Wore Black," about - unsurprisingly - the father of the three Phillips brothers in the band. Sonically, The Architects were highly impressive and a great first opener for the show.

Neon Trees are a band about which I had heard much hype, but to whom I had paid little attention before the show. However, from even the first song of their set, I knew I would appreciate them. I saw in their performance the same kind of exited spark My Chemical Romance themselves exude. Singer Tyler Glenn, leather and leopard clad, is a true showman. He pushes the audience's boundaries sexually and drops his mic often to go into elaborate routines of dance, which include high-kicks and "Thriller" steps. Even when he ended up lying on the floor, he could make the crowd go wild. A+ on their performance. I would love to see them again.

MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE

After Neon Trees' set finished, my friends went to find a more comfortable place in the crowd and I made my way to the photo pit, where I had to stand at the side and wait for the pushy security guard I had mentioned earlier to let me in. By the time I got in, all the other photographers had been let through and had taken their various stances in preparation for the performance's starting.

I met a couple more people along the barricade and spoke to one of the professional photographers, who gave me a couple tips and we both complained about how high up the stage was and how hard it would, therefore, be to get good shots, but I was ready to try my hardest!

When MCR came out, I was standing in front of Mikey. For their first three songs, I spent my time ducking down and moving from one side of the stage to the next to try to get good pictures. We weren't allowed to use flash, and I just have a little Kodak point-and-shoot, so very few of my pictures turned out good, but I have a particular one of Mikey's silhouette (Left) that I absolutely love.

Because I was taking pictures, I had to compose myself for the songs I was allowed to shoot: "Na Na Na...," "Give 'Em Hell, Kid" and "Planetary (GO!)." I still nodded my head, sang along and tapped my foot, but by some miracle, I avoided thrashing about and flipping my shit.

As I exited the photo pit, they started playing "Hang 'Em High," and I finally unleashed, raising my arms as I joyously sang along while making my way back into the crowd. I walked all the way along the stage-left side of the room searching for somewhere the crowd opened up and I could slip in, but it was compressed all the way to the very back of the room (mind you, the capacity is 4,500 here, sold out and the majority of the people were on the floor, not the balcony).


I finally found a couple gaps where some older fans and parents were standing and tried to squirm my way up through the crowd while they were still playing "Hang 'Em High," but I quickly realized that the closer I got, the harder it was to breathe and that I would never get much closer than just in front of the soundboard, so I went back to a more open space beside the soundboard to watch where I didn't feel light-headed.

No matter where one went in the crowd, it was sweltering hot with absolutely no relief to be found. Even where I was with few people moving besides myself, it was suffocating. I can only imagine how fans up front or in the middle must have felt. I saw evidence of the overwhelming pressure, violence and heat everywhere I turned. I've never seen so many fans crying or sitting down at an MCR show-- and not because they're overwhelmed by the power of the music, but because they were sick or injured.

Still, I couldn't stop myself from jumping and moving my way through the next 6 songs for which I stayed in my spot. "The Only Hope for Me Is You" and "Summertime" came as slow and welcome relief between bangers like "Vampire Money," "House of Wolves" and "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)."

I finally looked down at my phone just before the band played "DESTROYA" to find a message inviting me to come to the balcony, which I willingly accepted at that point, feeling sick, overheated and weak-kneed. Still, I skipped my way to the balcony stairs, singing along all the while. I watched the rest of the show, much more calmly, from the balcony beside the stage on Frank's side.

I could see the entire crowd from there and was in shock that I was ever inside such a beast. I could find zero open spaces when I looked at it. It was just a massive mob, and it was radiating so much heat that I almost expected the friction of so many bodies rubbing together to cause the whole place to burst into flames.

The songs I got to see the band play from up there were my favorites of the night. Gerard cryptically sing-songed: "One day our sun is gonna die. One day our sun is gonna die... Until then. Until then, we walk the night," which was the introduction for "Vampires Will Never Hurt You!" I remember covering my mouth in shock and grinning. "Vampires..." was the second song I ever discovered by MCR and is really what kind of solidified my love for them, so it has a very special place in my heart. Seeing it live is always amazing.

They also closed the entire show with "Bulletproof Heart," which may very well be my favorite song from Danger Days.... It's the perfect live song. I can't imagine any better way they could have ended the set.

As they exited, I noticed Ray's injured foot again as he walked off last, more slowly than the rest, and the crowd roared for him. It was a very touching moment as Toro grinned.

It's one of the images I'll always keep from the show.

Setlist:

Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)
Give 'Em Hell, Kid
Planetary (GO!)
Hang 'Em High
Vampire Money
Mama
The Only Hope For Me Is You
House of Wolves
Summertime
I'm Not Okay (I Promise)
DESTROYA
Welcome To The Black Parade
Teenagers
Vampires Will Never Hurt You
Helena

-ENCORE-

Cancer
Bulletproof Heart

______

XoXo
c.

Keep an eye out for my review of the Cleveland show!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

More Unabridged My Chemical Romance Reviews Coming Soon!

Some of you may be aware that I saw My Chemical Romance in Chicago and Cleveland this past weekend.

As always, I will post the usual no-detail-spared unabridged reviews here to share my experiences. They will include all I can remember from meeting the band, watching them soundcheck and from the shows themselves.

I am swamped with homework, editing and other obligations, but I am working hard at the same time to get the posts up as soon as possible.

For now, you can check out these reviews I wrote that have already been published:

Chicago Fan Report for the official MCR site.

Formal Cleveland review for ACRN.com

Keep an eye on the MCR site for my second Fan Report!

XoXo
c.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Chemical Romance Sings it For Japan

My Chemical Romance have launched SingItForJapan.com and released a new song in support of Japan following its recent disasters.

The site features several ways to donate to Japan's relief efforts, showcasing the band's re-imagined version of "SING," as well as a photo print and t-shirt. All proceeds from downloads and the purchase of the items will go directly to the Red Cross.


Download "#SINGItForJapan" from iTunes.

Check out and share the #SINGItForJapan video, to which My Chemical Romance recently asked fans to contribute.



XoXo
c.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cassie's Weekly Recommendations: Week One

Those of you who follow my online shenanigans beyond this blog may be aware that I am the blogs editor for ACRN.com, Ohio University's All Campus Radio Network.

One of the blogs I oversee is called Exec Recs. In it, the executives of each of the station's departments list their current recommendations to readers. The blog is updated twice weekly, and I have so much fun and learn so much from the varying tastes of the contributors as I edit the posts that I decided to start my own Weekly Recommendations series here. I hope you enjoy!

____

1. "Blasphemous Rumors" - Depeche Mode



Is there anything better to listen to while writing or painting than Darkwave? Don't challenge me-- I'm a gloomy kid and believe there is not.

Recently, I wrote a story for my short fiction class about an encounter between a person who was about to commit suicide and a person trying to convince the other not to. It turned into a mental dialogue about how human interaction when it comes to mortality is all really a big joke. Bleak, I know...

Later in the week, as I painted a Killjoy mask for a friend, this song came on, and it kind of fit. I don't even want to know how many times I've listened to it since.

2. Ray Fucking Toro



I don't think anything needs to be said. That man is amazing.

Yesterday, chaos broke out on Tumblr that he had broken his foot during a show. It has since been cleared up by show-goer Tera who explained that as Gerard vaguely mentioned something about Toro's hurting his foot, Toro smiled onstage, shook his head, moved around and jumped.

Anyway, Ray Toro is a genius. His playing speaks to me just as loudly as words, and I cannot wait to meet him next week!

3. "Humdrum Town" - Theophilus London



I've had this song on my iPod for about a year now and can still listen to it on repeat without getting sick of it. Theophilus London takes the influence of The Smiths and brings it into hip-hop to create something beautiful here.

4. "Rill Rill" - Sleigh Bells



I'm so late jumping on the Sleigh Bells...sleigh, but this song is killer and WILL. NOT. get out of my head. I have to listen to it at least once a day to get my fix. Plus, as one of my friends on Facebook mentioned, the video makes me think the Killjoys are going to pop out at any moment. My response: "SLOW DOWN, WOMAN! SHOW PONY SKATES THERE!"

5. My Chemical Romance's cover of Pulp's "Common People"



When My Chemical Romance's Live Lounge session aired on BBC Radio 1 on March 31, few fans were surprised to hear that they had chosen to cover Pulp's "Common People;" as, they had played it live on a couple stops of their European tour.

This is another tune I have to listen to at least once a day. I think we can all feel the pangs of being common people often. See Gerard's face at 1:13 of this video for how I feel when those who are above common flaunt their status in my face these days...

XoXo
c.