Leaving his career as lead singer of My Chemical Romance behind Gerard Way has transitioned into something a lot more adult. As his fan base ages and the kind of emo rock from days past becomes less of a fad, Way has chosen to go in a completely new direction. Taking inspiration from brit-pop icons such as Pulp with a hint of Bowie thrown in for good measure, the super fuzzy distorted pop of debut album Hesitant Alien made its London debut at the Koko in Camden.
The glamorous venue was full the rafters with fans desperate to get their first glimpse of this newly renovated Gerard Way who’s back with a bright orange hair colour and a swanky blue suit.
Opening his set with The Bureau, a disjointed rock anthem, Way’s energy and captive performance was as strong as ever. The Koko may be a lot smaller in comparison to his 2011 headline performances at Reading and Leeds festival with My Chemical Romance, but Way’s enchanting stage presence and sheer mythological status among his young fan base meant the performance was as impressive as ever. He knows what the crowd wants and serves it up to them perfectly presented, like an haute cuisine dish at a Michelin star restaurant.
Way worked his way through all the material from his debut album including singlesMillions, Action Cat and No Shows, filling in set time with a performance of his Japanese single Television All The Time. With only a limited amount of material to perform, Way promised the crowd he was soon to be back in the studio promptly to record a follow up album.
The highlight of the evening came in the form of a cover. A rendition of an old folk songThe Water Is Wide (O Waly, Waly). The lights went down and everything slowed as only a piano accompanied Way’s powerful vocals. It was a truly beautiful and emotive moment as the crowd were collectively in ore of the talent that unfolded in front of them. Huge waling echoes of Way’s voice filled the rafters of the huge venue proving this 37-year-old still packs a lot of punch.
For many this was a first glimpse into Way’s solo career. With only one album under his belt it was surprising how much he could with a headline set. Way’s talent has not faulted since his days in My Chemical Romance and if anything his performance showed what promise and opportunity lay ahead in a career that is sure to be a success, not only among his existing fans but with an older fan base also.
Written by: Rebecca Rayner