Walk into a shopping centre, make a left and there you’ll find the entrance of the Islington Academy. It’s hard to envisage that you’re on your way to see My Chemical Romance. Yes, that would be the same My Chemical Romance who picked up two NME awards the previous night; the same My Chemical Romance who just rounded off their latest UK tour – playing to thousands of fans in arenas nationwide. Now here they are, playing in an 800 capacity venue. However, this is no normal show.
Posted on the Tuesday night, fans discovered that the band intended to film their latest music video – a ‘Killjoy dance party’ for ‘Planetary (GO!)’ – in London before departing for mainland Europe.
Upon arrival, you were immediately met with a sea of colour, leather and face paint. When My Chemical Romance demand costumes and colour, My Chemical Romance get costumes and colour. In the midst of the Killjoy mass you’ll find a pair of girls, dressed all in black and white donning the ‘BLI/nd’ logo and – if you were lucky enough to see it – someone dressed as a cow. It’s plain and simple – Killjoys to cows – we’re all here to have a good time. The evening holds something incredible; fun and excitement guaranteed with hours still to go.
Fast forward to around 8pm and the mass of colour now fills the venue, avidly waiting. Glance up to the balcony and you’ll spot the band walking around, rousing screams from the fans below. The wait is always the most tedious part, but the moment the band step onstage always makes it obsolete.
The lights dimmed and ‘Look Alive, Sunshine’ blared, but it was different. The crowd was so loud you could barely hear his words. Who needed to hear Dr. Deathdefying when you had 600 Killjoys screaming the words as if it were their national anthem? As ‘Na Na Na’ kicks in the show really takes off. There’s a certain energy you’ll find an intimate shows that’s hard to pinpoint.
After ‘Vampire Money’, Gerard offered a choice. Asking the fans whether they’d like to hear ‘House of Wolves’ or ‘Our Lady of Sorrows’, he seemed quite surprised to note that fans were fan more vocal about hearing their older songs, thoughtfully remarking, ‘Interesting…’
“We’re going to all work together, we’re going to make a video for Planetary and you guys are all going to help us do that,” began Gerard mid-set. “Planetary…” he said with a thoughtful pause. “The cool thing about that song is it was a song that we chose but in a way you guys chose that song because of the way you guys react to it every single time we fucking played it from the first time we played it in London.”
The rest of their mini-set was made up of ‘Teenagers’, ‘I’m Not Okay’, ‘Helena’, ‘Bulletproof Heart’ and ‘Planetary (GO!)’.
The band left the stage as the director came out to brief the fans on what to expect. Props were passed out to really create the California 2019 vibe. The crowd was now an array of bright masks, guns, megaphones, animal mascot heads and a motor cycle helmet. It truly was a Killjoy dance party.
First, the fans were given free reign to ‘rock out’ to Planetary as it blared from the sound system. It’s somewhat incredible to see how lively the crowd were without the band even there. With each take, the energy refused to dwindle as the crowd gave it their all.
Once three or four takes of the song were recorded, everyone returned to waiting for the band to take the stage once more. One of the shining moments of the night was definitely the fan comradery that shone through as two full sing alongs kicked off to ‘Teenagers’ and ‘Na Na Na’. Until you hear hundreds of fans try sing Ray Toro’s solos, I’d go out on a limb and say you’re missing out.
Upon return to stage, Gerard took a moment to declare how incredible the sing alongs sounded from backstage and commended the crowd. The band always play live in their videos, so he explained hearing that over the back track could get a little weird.
Weird is definitely one way of describing it. The guitar was louder than everything and Gerard’s vocals were barely audible at points. Still, the momentum failed to drop as yet another take was down. Confetti and balloons rained from the balcony to epitomise the fun, exciting element the band looked to hone.
Between takes, the crowd took to chanting again. The favourite ‘Let’s go fucking mental’ kicked off again before numerous member chants of each name.
Toro was happy to share a little booty shake during his chant, whereas you’d spy Gerard standing like a sassy muscle-man during his. Frank stood shrugging before spraying water across the stage as his drew to a close and Mikey broke a little smirk as his name echoed the room. Mike Pedicone and James Dewees were not forgotten, getting their own chants as – just like the others – a mini-jam session kicked off within MCR.
All jokes aside, Gerard called for more energy in the final take. The room was explosive as they tore into the final take of ‘Planetary (GO!)’, knowing this was the last chance for both the band and the fans to give it their all. Confetti and balloons fell from the sky for one last time as the room was thriving.
As a final parting gift, the band played ‘Vampires Will Never Hurt You’, the song they recently brought back to their setlist but dropped midway through their arena tour. In a nine song set, two Bullets songs is definitely a wonderful thing.
The final line resounded around the room as the band said their thank yous and promised the video would be wonderful before exiting the stage. As you stepped back from the crowd you could see fans generally basking in the fact they’d just partook in an MCR video shoot.
This is a unique opportunity and to one and all was a truly unique experience. Take my word for it? No need. I’m not the only one to view the evening in awe.
Kayleigh from Birmingham says, “It was the most amazing thing I have ever been a part of. Both the fans and band really got into it and seeing My Chem in such a small venue completely made my night.”
“The whole experience for me was completely mindblowing,” claims Alice, 17, from London. “Not just the shoot itself, but the mini-set beforehand as well. To be that close to a band that has changed so many lives, including mine, and to be in a room filled with such amazing fans was truly moving.”
“The shoot itself was so much fun,” she continues. “Everyone was having a laugh and even when the band weren’t onstage singing Planetary, it was still fun. I think the main thing that made it memorable was the fact that it was like a thank you from the band. They have so many dedicated fans in the UK, so for them to come over and do this here was a very big thing. You could tell everyone there was really grateful.”
“I genuinely never thought that I’d get to see my favourite band in a room any smaller than an arena nowadays, and I was okay with that.” Sarah from Newcastle admits. “But to be third row in one of the tiniest venues I’ve ever visited was one of the most surreal experiences ever.”
“So, to be a part of their video as well?” she adds. “That is absolutely crazy to me! I can genuinely say it has made for one of the best days of my life. That band constantly amaze me and they will forever be a huge part of both myself and my life.”
Meagan from London states, “Whilst I’d never grudge them their success, I do miss seeing the band in smaller venues, and so a mini-gig in a much smaller venue was nothing short of amazing. I don’t remember dancing that much at a gig in a long time!”
“Seeing My Chemical Romance in a small, intimate venue is something I always said I’d love to do, but I never imagined it would actually happen,” Lucy, also from London, begins. “It was an amazing experience, and I feel so lucky to have been a part of it; I know it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
“My Chem have always had a great connection with their fans, but something about this show was really special,” she continues. “It felt like all barriers between the band and fans were forgotten; we were all in it together. The atmosphere was electric and everybody was having so much fun.”
“The video shoot was crazy – I was literally lifted off my feet during the chorus when everybody was jumping! Then, when the band came back on stage, the crowd proceeded to chant each band member’s name, to which MCR started spontaneous jam seesions. It was absolutely brilliant and the band seemed to relaxed.”
“I can’t wait to see the video,” Lucy concludes. “When you do get to watch it, expect to see lots of colour, some awesome costumes and a room full of Killjoys having the time of their lives.”
We could post fan comments forever and you’d get the same response. The show was a crazy experience for most involved as seeing their favourite band dominate such a small stage for such a huge reason is completely overwhelming.
So Killjoys nationwide flocked to London to showcase exactly why My Chemical Romance and their fans have such a great relationship. The event from start to finish oozed enthusiasm, fun and energy and there’s nothing more you could have asked for.
The video is allegedly set for a March 21st release. Can we all really wait that long to see the Killjoy dance party unleashed in the zones? Sadly, we have no choice.