PHOTOS: My Chemical Romance at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver - Reverb

Live review: My Chemical Romance @ the Fillmore Auditorium

My Chemical Romance front man Gerard Way, adorned with bright red locks above his signature shocking eyes, celebrated his 34th birthday in Denver on Saturday night, along with a sold out crowd at the Fillmore Auditorium. While the party, itself, was plenty of fun, the musical accompaniment left a bit to be desired, and showed that his band appears to be stylistically lost.

While Way and brother Mikey sported more than enough enthusiasm behind their long set, the music fell short of what their third album, the multi-platinum opus, “The Black Parade” promised. The fodder for this set came mostly from last year’s “Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys,” and showed a melodic departure from the pop-punk of their early life, though not so much in Way’s signature emo-soaked goth lyrics.

Where their earlier sound seemed to be a logical step forward from the influence of pop-punk greats Green Day, the newer material seemed to harken back to early ’90s grunge and post-grunge. Only this performance magnified the less attractive, aimless melodies and whining of those genres rather than their inherent nihilism and defiant energy.

The set started out promisingly with the new album’s opener, “Na Na Na” (definitely a comic book superhero theme song if ever they’ve made one), and the energy in the venue immediately spiked. Sadly, though, through sludgy anthems like “Planetary (GO!),” “Sing” and “The Only Hope for Me is You” they swerved wildly between influences of bands like Pearl Jam or Judas Priest, and often mixed them with varying results — all bad.

The apex of the band’s apparent befuddlement in musical direction could be seen in their performance of “Summertime,” which sounded like Journey trying to emulate latter Smashing Pumpkins, with an added dusting of the Cure’s noodling poppiness. The result was stomach-turning, rather than the presumed attempt at a happy love anthem.

There were a few great moments, though they were few and far between. Their cover of the Damned’s “Neat Neat Neat” was respectfully done, as was “Mama.” The only time the energy in the Fillmore returned anywhere close to where it was at the show’s start, tragically, was when the touring keyboardist played the familiar notes at the start of their mega-hit, “Welcome to the Black Parade.” The performance of the veritable emo anthem seemed to exonerate them for their earlier transgressions, albeit maybe a song or three too late.

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Billy Thieme is a Denver-based writer, an old-school punk and a huge follower of Denver’s vibrant local music scene. Follow Billy’s explorations at, and his giglist at Gigbot.

Quoleena Sbrocca is a Denver photographer and new contributor to Reverb. Visit her website here.

  • kaysiewalter

    I disagree completely. The show was amazing. The band has changed since The Black Parade, so their new songs are obviously going to be different, it’s a new story. There was energy throughout the entire show, not just for NaNaNa and Welcome to the Black Parade. It was great to hear songs from their early albums. Their music means a lot to so many people. The Black Parade album didn’t promise anything for future albums, so it’s unfortunate that you were expecting something similar to the Black Parade.

  • MJB12

    I’m not sure what show you were at but the energy at this show was greater than anytime My Chem has played in Denver in the past 5 years. A lot of people (way too many) describe their new material as this huge departure from The Black Parade, but really almost every song off of Danger Days closely resembles a song off of The Black Parade.

  • Jamie

    I think you’ve been harsh with your review. I think the fact you’ve written the words ‘goth’ and ‘emo’ obviously mean you have no idea about the bands’ history.

  • Byllie

    It wasn’t their best performance that I have seen, but I do believe that the energy, and the love for the fans were there. Gerard Way admitted to me earlier that day that he wasn’t feeling too well and after all It was his birthday.

  • Hope Nicholls

    I disagree,I have seen them live and they are the best band ever,you put them as (emo/goth) when that`s not right at all they have never been emo all there fans know that,the band has changed since nthe black parade as they have changed with every album,they needed to changed,their music means so much to so many people,the band saved they lives and the their music has saved many lives,nthey really have,more then the band really know`s.nso billy thieme you can`t really know the band or their fans,your just a man who got paid to see them at the show and did not even google them to see who they are and then write a very poor review.nKEEP RUNING KILLJOYS

  • Shinba5

    I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. I went to that show and I’m not entirely sure you did because the experience was only one of elation and joy throughout the entirety of the showing. Maybe it wasn’t exactly like The Black Parade, but that’s what makes My Chemical Romance so amazing. Everything they do is different and one song cannot be said to sound like the other. Their lyrics and unique sound is what brings so many of us together and I’m just sad that you don’t realize this yourself. Their music is lost on you.

  • Hitwproductions

    Honestly, I felt the band was a little lazy. I’ve seen them before, and Gerard usually has more stage presence. It felt almost as if the tiresome tour has left them no energy for that show… The engineer, however, was spot-on. The fact that he was only pushing 103 DB and it sounded like 115 DB with being perfectly clear and sharp, but not harsh on the ears, was awesome.

  • Hannah

    I have to agree with everyone else in the comments. I honestly don’t think you were at the same show as we were because everything you’re saying is the complete opposite of what happened.

  • dannibanani

    I think this is a completely innaccurate review. Though I was not there that night, this seems almost more like an attack on the album then the show. I personally find that the black parade was less meaningful and more an attempt to give this supposed “emo” and “goth” to the (obviously) image-based fans like you. Their first two albums were alive with raw energy and emotion, and I find that Danger Days is no different.