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Live review: Gerard Way

Former MCR pin-up hits the solo trail.

On a cold, wet, midweek January night, Gerard Way and his new band the Hormones are trying to start a love riot in Southampton.

Promoting his so-so debut album Hesitant Alien with his second British mini-tour in the space of three months, Way is pulling significantly smaller crowds than during his My Chemical Romance pin-up peak. Even so, his screaming female fans are out in force, showering him with socks and flowers. And the singer works hard to repay their loyalty. A woman who comes dressed as Lola, Way’s monkey-faced pink mascot, is rewarded with an invitation to join him onstage.

Hurtling, hand-clapping, punk-pop riff-slammers like Action Cat and Millions blast along with an adrenalised energy that nudges Way into Green Day territory. But his less frenetic, more glam-tinged numbers evoke a Britpop hinterland including Suede and Blur. Nothing here quite touches the anthemic swagger of MCR in their prime, so it seems oddly self-defeating that Way completely ignores his old band’s songs, especially since his slender current repertoire barely fills 70 minutes on stage.

Besides the Hesitant Alien tracks, Way plays a handful of new tunes including the heart-tugging power ballad Piano Jam and a raunchy, raucous, party-rocker called Kidnapper. The singer’s post-MCR career plan is clearly still a work in progress, but these are promising pointers for a second solo album.

Stephen Dalton has been writing about all things rock for more than 30 years, starting in the late Eighties at the New Musical Express (RIP) when it was still an annoyingly pompous analogue weekly paper printed on dead trees and sold in actual physical shops. For the last decade or so he has been a regular contributor to Classic Rock magazine. He has also written about music and film for Uncut, Vox, Prog, The Quietus, Electronic Sound, Rolling Stone, The Times, The London Evening Standard, Wallpaper, The Film Verdict, Sight and Sound, The Hollywood Reporter and others, including some even more disreputable publications.