Gerard Way takes over First Avenue

Gerard Way takes over First Avenue

Paul Patane, Senior Reporter

Gerard Way put all of himself out there for well over an hour, holding nothing back as the seasoned rock star performed for a packed Mainroom at First Avenue in downtown Minneapolis on Friday, May 15.

After an opening set from the rock group Nuns, Way launched his small 2015 “Hesitant Alien” summer tour as he played only seven venues in nine days. This fall, he will tour Russia and go on a second U.S. mini tour playing four locations. These mini tours come with him working on his second solo album.

Way sang through the entirety of his debut album as fans seemed to get particularly excited and into live performances of “Brother,” “Millions” and “Zero Zero.” The standout and perhaps best received song of the evening was “Maya the Psychic.”

Covering the full spectrum of emotions, Way engaged in meaningful conversation and song, going as far as tackling issues like whether or not we live in “The Matrix” and the rights of transgendered people. He was even honest and straightforward enough to admit when he missed singing a set of lyrics.

Throwing their arms up in the air and often singing along with the star they came out to support, the crowd was as diverse as the music they came out to experience. From college students to middle-aged moms with their pre-teen kids, audience members danced the night away while girls screamed how much they loved the performance and performer. Shortly after Way’s set began, a couple girls threw their underwear on stage, causing Way to turn as red as a strawberry from blushing.

Some of the music that’s expected to be on Way’s second album was teased in Minneapolis, including in his encore after fans displayed their Minnesota nice while chanting, “One more song…please!” To their satisfaction, Way complied with a big grin.

If there was one misfire, it’s that the concert was billed as an “all ages” show. While the lyrics in Way’s songs are fairly clean, he managed to insert quite a few “f bombs” in his dialogue between songs. I saw a mom jokingly put her hands over her teenage daughter’s ears, but no one seemed to truly mind Way’s passion or language. If anything it felt honest and from the heart.

After twelve years of guiding American alternative rock group My Chemical Romance, Way launched his solo career, embracing British influences such as Blur, Wire and Gang of Four. That direction was physically evident as Way and his band wore formal attire for the entirety of the concert with a stage setup that didn’t have many bells or whistles from a design perspective. It was clean, simple and different.

Way’s second solo album is expected to break away from the Britpop influence of the first one, embracing more of an “old soul music” vibe. Way plans to record the new album this fall. His tour that began at First Avenue in Minneapolis concluded on May 23 in Boston.