Reading Festival: Gerard Way

Former My Chemical Romance frontman brings cartoon persona to packed tent

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Little did those watching My Chemical Romance headline in 2011 realise it would be the last time they'd see them at all. So it's hardly surprising that despite an early start and a set largely made up of unfamiliar songs, Gerard Way still arrives on stage to a packed tent of screaming fans.

The 80s’ indie influences of his new solo project may be a far cry from MCR, but this shouldn’t be surprising from a man who was part of a band who consistently changed personas.

Although his new music isn’t as drastic a change as expected, the eclectic pop sensibility that was the beating heart of the band’s music has been allowed to blossom into something special in its own right.

While past glories may have drawn such a large crowd, it’s Gerard himself who ensures they stick around. Dressed in a blue suit and with bright red hair, he looks every bit the larger-than-life, cartoonish character come to life. It’s impossible to drag your eyes away from him. He has a boyish charm that suggests that even if he wasn’t born to be a star, life has certainly sculpted him into one. His voice is also as irresistible as ever.

One of his strongest points was always bringing a life-affirming atmosphere along with him, even when he was singing about death. It’s present here with the joyous na na nas that close No Shows. Proof, if ever it was needed, that Gerard Way’s presence makes the world of music a much brighter place.

UK residents can watch this set on the BBC iPlayer.