My Chemical Romance's Metal Appreciation Moments in Milton Keynes
Beginning their set with new song 'The Foundations of Decay' (and flogging merch branded with the word Swarm - a possible new album title?), as soon as My Chem take the stage, the crowd rushed forward and people either broke out into huge grins, or floods of tears.
What followed for the next couple of hours is a band clearly reinvigorated and having the time of their lives, exploring every era of their career with their setlist choices and having the charm and prowess fans and followers have come to expect from them.
What's especially interesting is frontman Gerard Way's many nods to metal throughout the night, as opposed to his resident emo scene, and nods to our culture as a whole. Whether it's his newfound love of a vocal pedal that makes his voice sound evil, or his implementing a whole lot of harsh vocals and screams throughout the set on songs that don't feature them on their studio versions, or even the fact that their comeback single features a legitimate breakdown, Gerard seems to have fallen completely back in love with the genre that he'd always shown a fondness for in the past.
This is amplified by his stopping the show to anecdote how he has fairly recently got back into going to shows, and his fanboying over getting to meet King Diamond at one of his gigs pre-prandemic. Gerard tells of how taken he was by the show, how much it meant getting his picture taken with the King, and how he started attending other metal shows as a fan for the first time in a decade to gain influence and inspiration.
Gerard's story goes on to shout out two of the hottest bands in our world right now, in Pennsylvania's punky black-metallers Devil Master, and Texas' death metal troupe Creeping Death. It's refreshing to see a band member from a scene outside of ours with their finger on the pulse so much to recognise what's good in our world, and this is exemplified no more so than when Gerard heaps praise on thrash icons Power Trip, and their dearly-missed frontman Riley Gale.
Watch Creeping Death perform on the Pulse of the Maggots 3x22 below
Gerard tells the crowd of how inspired he was by Riley, and how, stunningly, he had planned to ask Power Trip to open for My Chem. There's a sweet joke about the band possibly declining, but what a tour that would have been. And what an exciting prospect for the future - if MCR want to take metal bands out on tour with them, and introduce their own fans to some of the leading lights in our world, then the appeal and reputation of the monumental metal scene right now could go stratospheric.
Equally, if My Chemical Romance want to explore more metal in their own music, which wouldn't be all that surprising given the events of tonight (some of the crowd were genuinely thinking they were going to break into 'Executioner's Tax (Swing of the Axe)' when Gerard finished his Riley Gale speech), then a band so hugely influential as them could really help our scene to deservedly start getting back into the spotlight.
Whatever happens though, it's so great to see one of the best bands of the 2000s back to their best and loving playing shows again. And if they want to play with being a metal band now too, then even better.