Now THIS is the My Chem I came for. With a welcome night off between Jersey and DC, the Killjoys brought the noise to the Nightclub 9:30 with a loud, kickass, rabble-rousing set. And the rabble loved it.
The evening started with another awe-inspiring display by the MCRmy, who began camping out on the sidewalk Monday night and by Tuesday evening had formed a queue stretching five or six blocks from the club. I have been going to shows at the 9:30 a good 20 years and, X my heart, I’ve never seen anything like it. Man, I love these kids. =) –More variety of band shirts than we saw at the Starland, but My Chem shirts of all vintages vastly predominated, along with the expected scattering of masks and bandanas. Some killjoy—er, spoilsport—in club security had apparently gotten wind of this crowd’s preferred décor, as there was a never-before-seen sign among the posted warnings—“No toy guns will be allowed in the venue”—and while, thankfully, no one had to abandon his or her treasured Zone-issue zapgun, we did see a few tossed-aside space pistols, including one shiny Buzz Lightyear model.
The Intrepid Liz and I spent the Architects’ set on the upper level (pretty much same as Saturday’s, just longer) and then decided to try our luck on the floor, which was crowded but not packed. Good decision, as we were able to maintain good sightlines and Liz finally had camera space, hooray!
Thursday, to my great happiness, were once again the main openers for My Chem, and put in another beautiful set. The new material sounds great live and the band, while not as lit up as for their home crowd, were just as clear and strong. I’ll say it again: I’ll take their ramshackle grace over some auto-tuned polished performance any night of the year, and I was right with the blonde girl two feet from me in the pit, tears spilling down her face as she watched Geoff reach for the sky. Guess I’m emo…
ANYway. Kids buzzing and cheering as the Killjoy stage is set up: the roadie who sets Mikey/Kobra’s helmet on its amp pauses and gestures for effect as he does it, and grins at the howl of joy he gets. == [ Note: I can’t help but be sorry that this tour isn’t more Killjoy-centric. I can’t believe they haven’t been hanging out on the Web and seen how the fanbase has taken this mythos to heart, the fanfic, the costumes, the fan videos and new names and the whole Dustverse fantasia; and my gods, their own website is amazing, hours of weird little videos and commercials and Fact News clips set in the Killjoy universe; why’d they decide not to play in their own sandbox after all? Too constricting? Bad experiences when they were the Black Parade? I d’know, but… sigh. me’s sad.]
Snap on the dot of 9:30 they appear with “Look Alive, Sunshine” and a scorching “Na Na Na”; Gerard instantly wins the locals’ hearts including mine: “—alright, legendary 9:30 Club DC! How are ya?” (Check the Wiki: the 9:30 Club is our city’s most storied rock’n’punk venue, everyone has played here, I saw Nine Inch Nails here when Trent was still clambering on his jungle gym. It’s just THE place. Good one, G.) –The sky’s the limit from there. It’s a total experience, Frank bawling the choruses, Ray’s headbanging intensity, Mikey’s fragile spaciness, Gerard’s front-and-center red-alert authority. They’re so strong, this band, so wry and bitter and yet with so much heart. (And even though facing a wall of tiny glowing screens, smartphones and cameras held up above the crowd to throw their faces back at them a hundred times, whicb has gotta be a weird moment.) They storm through the set—even G marvels at how fast it goes—a dreamy “Summertime”, a roaring, fists-on-high “DESTROYA”, throw in a fast-charging “House of Wolves” which wasn’t done in NJ, tougher and more raw by the minute, and then comes the crescendo. A gorgeous, surging “Sing”, led into by a barrage of flung challenges:
“So, what’re you gonna do, when they try to fix you? When they try to make you pretty? When they try to take all the edges out of everything and make it perfect, what’ll you do, DC?”
(–And I tell you, OK, so maybe he’s been a jerk online, yeah, I know, but. BUT. The way he said this, the way the whole 1500+ packed club stood up and sang with their whole hearts, for the world, as one: I feel for the kid he laced into, swear I do, but , but, this transcends. It DOES. This power, this beauty: I can’t stay mad at a person who can bring this into being. )
And after that the only right thing was “Helena”—“so long and good night”—and we didn’t stay for the encore. Had enough, more than enough.
I love this band so much.
Photograph ©2011 Elizabeth V. Bouras
[[Three footnotes: (1) There are few moments of cognitive dissonance quite like standing in a crowd of over 1000—3/4 of them too young to drink legally—all loudly and gleefully singing “Teenagers scare the living shit out of me”. I mean, I get it, and I’m pretty sure they get it, but still. (2) What the fuck is with these people who come and go from the bar even while the headliners are playing?! I mean, WHAT? Cripes, if you’re just here to drink, buy a bottle and stay home instead of shoving your way back and forth past those of us who are here to actually see the band. Sheesh. (3) Ray Toro and I were wearing the same shirt (#singitforjapan). Woo! My little moment =)]]