Thursday, May 1, 2014

My Chemical Romance @ The Knitting Factory - Brooklyn, NY 08/31/06

My last job required a lot of travel.  I spent a large amount of time in hotel rooms for about a 5 year period.  During that time I almost never watched television in a hotel room.  My 2 boys were young at that time to sometimes the peace and quiet was welcome.  I would spend most of the alone time either reading or catching up on work all while listening to music.  Like anything else, you miss the chaos as well if you are away from it long enough.  So it was the morning I discovered My Chemical Romance.

I was at a Trade show in Columbus, Ohio early in 2005.  I was getting ready in the morning and switched on the TV to MTV in hopes that they were playing videos.  I had bought my first iPod the year before and listened to it non stop.  Actually, I was listening to it so much that I had shielded myself from new radio.  I was recycling the same music over and over.  It was my boredom with my current collection that led to the TV being turned on.  Mostly it was background noise.  I was getting dressed and hearing songs 'Since You've Been Gone' by Kelly Clarkson being played for the zillionth time.  I sat down at the foot of the bed to put my shoes on and at that moment the video for 'I'm Not OK' came on.

It appealed to me immediately.  Who hasn't felt like this?  I could easily relate.  Feeling like a misfit.  On the outside.  Feeling different and being tired of feeling that way. It took me back to high school and brought up a whole slew of repressed  The video is one of my favorites in recent memory.  As the day went on the song was stuck in my head.  When I arrived home I went straight to the store that night and bought Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge.

From the opening riff to the last note I was in love.  The power, the imagery, the rage, all wrapped in a pop sensibility.  The guitar riffs were bordering heavy metal with a punk feel.  It was haunting yet had a tongue in cheek sense of humor about it.  I loved everything about it.  I was falling in love with this band.  So I naturally did the same thing I do whenever I fall in love with a band.  I obsess.

I started with their first release, I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love.  This one was a little emo for my liking but there were definitely bright spots.  You can see how Three Cheers was a bit of a departure.  Less screaming and more focused song writing.  Not bad for a band that had only been together for less than three years at this point.  They were showing their New Jersey influences by bands like The Misfits.  The events of 9/11 led Gerard Way to wanting something more.  This was the culmination.

The running theme were comic book story-esque concept albums.  They were theatrical.  This one about vampires where Three Cheers was about the ghost of a jilted lover.   This is part because of lead singer Gerard Way's background as a graphic artist for comic books.

With word of a new album in the works I was getting excited.  It would be another concept album.  More theatrical on the lines of Queen.  I was having trouble waiting.  There was already news about an accident during the filming of the first video from the album, 'Welcome to the Black Parade'.  New drummer Bob Bryar burned the back of his leg and Girard tore ligaments in his ankle.  To make sure that I would know everything as soon as it happened I joined their fan club. Something I had never done with a band before.  It proved to be a very worthwhile experience.

The very next day at work I received a call on my cell phone. It was a NY number with no name ID.  In 2006 I hadn't started receiving telemarketer calls on my cell phone so I was intrigued enough to answer it.  It was the MCR fan club.  That alone I thought was odd.  They were calling to see if I were interested in seeing the band play tomorrow night.  There were no maybes.  I had to give an answer right then and there.  It was open to just a few fan club members.  It would be an 11:00 pm show at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, NY.  My answer was YES!  There was no other answer but yes.  I wouldn't pass up this opportunity for anything.  I asked a co-worker who's girlfriend lived in Brooklyn if he wanted to go.  I would get us in and pay the tolls if he would drive.  He was in also.  I love it when a plan comes together.

The next day I learned that MCR would be premiering their first single from the upcoming album at the MTV VMAs that night.  I was going to be treated to the post show appearance.  I was getting more and more excited!!!

We arrived to the Knitting Factory early.  There was a line waiting to get in.  I always get nervous when it is a guest list show.  I don't relax until I see my name and I am in.  There were other shows going on as well so it took sometime but we finally made it into the bar area.  $5.00 PBRs.  Yeah...I had a few.  Then we were in to the venue.

I was immediately shocked at how small this venue was.  It did not take long to realize after talking to the crowd that this was a small show for friends and family.  It was a celebration.  One that would premier songs from the upcoming album, The Black Parade.  How fucking incredible.

The band came out still wearing their Black Parade outfits and rocked us hard with 'Give 'Em Hell Kid'.  I can't believe how close I was.  Or that I was even there.  It was suck an intimate show that it was unreal.  There were less than 200 people in attendance.  This was back before iPhone's or high resolution camera phones.  I had fortunate to have gotten any pics, let alone one that somewhat turned out.  Even more fortunate I still have the pic.

They played a short set stopping occasionally for Bob to check on his leg and to say 'Hi' to family. The set was filled with old favorites and introductions to the new album.

They were giving us everything.  The new songs were killer!  At one point a fan threw a glove with a skeleton hand on it to Frank.  He wore it the rest of the show.  I later saw video of him still wearing the glove.  I believe he was wearing it for the MTV taping of $2 Bill.   The only disappointing part of the night was not walking away with the new disc so that I could obsess over the new material.  'Cancer' and 'I Don't Love You' were Huge highlights.  I didn't take this pic.  I wish I had.

Photo by Joshua Wildman

When it was over I was drained.  It was comparable to having seen NIN play on the floor at the Trocadero because Jesus and Mary Chain would not let them set up on the stage.  Just days after this show Bob was hospitalized for a staff infection he received from the burn on his leg.  They had to cancel a few shows as a result.

I have been a life long fan ever since this show.  The Black Parade debuted and took the band to the next level.  The album made many top 10 lists and they were legitimate stars.  I am sad knowing that they have broken up.  Hopefully it is not for good.  I was iffy on their last release but I loved the straight up punk songs like 'Vampire Money' and the direction they were heading.  Hopefully one day soon they will reemerge like the ghosts they once sung about.

See you at the next show!



  1. Was it called Knitting Factory in '06...the one off of Havemayer? I played that room in '07 and it was called Luna Lounge (which had used to be on Ludlow street LES which I'd played with a previous band). Knit Factory must have taken it over shortly after and Luna Lounge is no more. Since Knit Factory took over that space the sound was greatly improved as I played that incarnations a few times too!

    1. It was definitely Knitting Factory are that point. I don't remember the exact location but from what I understand it is no longer a Knitting Factory. It was a great place though. It had stages on multiple floors.

      I need to make my way to NYC to see one of your shows!!!


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