Gerard Way + No Devotion @ O2 Academy, 20th January 2015


As an ex-member of My Chemical Romance, Gerard Way can pull a crowd. Tonight saw the Birmingham date of Way’s tour to promote his latest album, Hesitant Alien. With a room full of fringes, the mood was set for No Devotion, compiled of former members of Lostprophets and Thursday.


The transatlantic sextet were new to me, however, I couldn’t help but think that I’d heard their nineties/synth crossover sound before. Imagine The Cure, Manic Street Preachers and Muse all playing at the same time. Messy and loud yet I still wanted to watch. There was something oddly captivating about No Devotion, I shouldn’t have liked them, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t, but I could tell the chorus of their biggest hit 10,000 Summers would be in my head for days. Upon the arrival of their last track, Grand Central Station, I was in two minds completely: is their three guitar and keyboard sound too much? Or does it actually work and my brain simply can’t cope? No Devotion ended their set, exited the stage and left me none the wiser. Odd? Definitely. Bad? Not necessarily, probably just a combination of bad sound and strange, strange music.


As we waited for Gerard Way & The Hormones to take to the stage, Tubthumping by Chumbawumba was played and after the set I’d just witnessed, I was fearful that those three minutes may be the most enjoyable of the night.

As The Hormones built the intro to its breaking point, Way ran on to deliver one of the most anti-climatic pieces of live music I’ve ever seen. With a track reminiscent of The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper sound, the ex emo legend commanded the sea of bobbing arms with ease, however there was certainly a disappointed atmosphere in the room as the time bomb that the band built up, failed to explode. The pace was picked back up with track three, Zero Zero, providing the first audience participation of the night. Before track four, Millions began, Way tells us that it is about saying “I fucking quit.” At that he reached for his tambourine and did the best Robert Smith impersonation I’d ever seen. Having not followed Way from his split with My Chemical Romance, I was at a disadvantage to the crowd of screaming girls that knew every single word and sang it back with pride. It was around track six, Drugstore Perfume, when I could finally put my finger on what sound was being created – The Lightning Seeds on a bad day. With this in mind I pictured myself in 1995 and everything fell into place: the jangly guitars, light drumming, the organ sounding keyboard and the struggle to hold a tune. It all makes sense.


A short interlude in the set gave the Beetlejuice lookalike a chance to preach his views on transgender people. Whilst I’m all for a few song introductions here and there, I did not come to listen to a Morrissey minus the daffodils speech about such a controversial topic, save it for Twitter, where people choose to pay attention! Once Way had got down off his soapbox, he continued with the set as normal. Or so I thought. Before I knew it, he pulled the “young woman” Jess on stage to play tambourine while he rambled some more, but this time, in the vein of a true feminist. This probably made Jess’ night. Mine however, was made worse. Willy Wonka with an opinion is quite possibly the only way I could describe Gerard Way. It did not come as a shock to me that after twelve songs, this personality started to grate a little.
Nevertheless, he would continue to be this way as long as his fans continued to demand it.


The encore saw Way and his Hormones return to the stage to churn out some material that may or may not have been played previously in the night; the lacklustre sound that was produced made for a monotonous set where tracks merged into one. I was sure a man of his calibre would not allow for this to happen, however, without listening to anything he’d put out, it certainly appeared that way.

Having shamefully seen My Chemical Romance in their heyday, it was clear that between the death of that and the birth of this, something had gone horribly wrong. I am unsure of what, but it certainly had. As the front man of My Chemical Romance, he was a showman, now he’s just a man. As a fan of live music, I can generally enjoy most shows, but this one really was testing and I wouldn’t rush back in a hurry.

Gerard Way Set list:

The Bureau
Action Cat
Zero Zero
Drugstore Perfume
Television All the Time
Ambulance – Piano (Jam)
Get the Gang Together
How It’s Going to Be
Maya the Psychic
Don’t Try
No Shows


Cheap Lights
Kid Nothing

Gerard Way:
No Devotion:

Review: Dan Wilson

Photographer : Andy Watson


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