Concert Review: Gerard Way and Nothing But Thieves @ Vulkan Arena – Oslo

Darkness falls over Oslo City at around 5pm these winter days and King Cold spreads cold vibes into the air. Signs of snow are visible and the temperature says -5 degrees, but it feels more like Arctic conditions this night. I am standing in the line outside the venue to watch Gerard Way’s show in the city. People are standing with blankets, rubbing their hands together, and stamping the feet towards the ground. It is pure torture waiting outside in the cold, yet the mood is great and you can hear laughter and anticipated conversations. The first audiences waiting outside have been in the cold since 11am and would do it all again to see this show. It makes you ready to take an hour in the cold with no complaints otherwise.

Support for the show is UK band Nothing But Thieves. I must admit, I have been a bit skeptic in how this band would handle the warm up for the freezing and most patient waiting audience. I was wondering if the act would be too anonymous, but skepticism put aside, I am positively surprised by the band’s energy and charm while playing live. The young group have an interesting alternative sound and good connection to the audience. The response was with hands up and cheers from the audience.

The light is dimmed before the main act hits the stage. A picture of the iconic pink monkey costume hanging in the background and an extensive G on the bass drum signalizes it is time for Gerard’s show. Backing band The Hormones walk up the stage and start playing an intro in the dark before Gerard hits the stage to great cheers. To my surprise, it isn’t the grand color splash with pink, red, orange, blue, and much more all over as we were introduced to in the beginning of Gerard’s work on the Hesitant Alien album, but The Hormones dressed more sharply in white shirts and black ties and Gerard himself wearing a black suit with dark colored shirt and tie with the silver-blonde hair shaking to the jumps marking a possible small change in further creative style.

The set of songs starts in a darkly lit venue with heavy tuned The Bureau before more colorful lights reach the stage and release the pop-punkish songs Action Cat and Zero Zero with a loose magnetic feeling. They play each song from the Hesitant Alien album with the wide range of expressions it got. The songs work very well performed live with a sweat dripping, head shaking group of musicians giving the it their absolute maximum energy and Gerard marking his well deserved place on stage by jumping from side to side to meet with the audience on both sides of the stage.

There is no doubt the audience is having a good time. The crowd is jumping to the rhythm with their arms in the air and are singing along. A couple of home made cardboard signs cut through the crowd with greetings towards the stage and a pink monkey is dancing in the hands of a girl. There is an electric feeling and it is hard to resist.

Gerard and The Hormones prove their characteristic sound with sharp guitar, hard hitting drums, and that sweet/raw vocal we know so well. They interact well on stage and create harmony in a bunch of catchy songs. A recipe based on the same ingredients as My Chemical Romance’s catchy tunes, but now mixed with a couple of new exciting spices. Some of the differences show in Brit-pop flavoured tunes and other retro sounds. I like each of the various tastes from bitter to sweet and would definitely like to get more of these new products.

Gerard puts a more personal touch to the show by pausing the music for a while between some of the songs and pick up topics that have a special place in his heart. He let us know parts of his personal life and struggles, the importance of knowing help is around the corner for all. He points out the importance of open minds and open talks. It is a travelling man preaching words of wisdom and it is nice to watch a musician speaking his mind and reaching out to the audience like this between songs. Some of the topics leads us to persons and moments that have inspired the songs on the Hesitant Alien album and works as fine intros to the songs as well, like Maya The Psychic. He mentions that after turning 25 there was a doubt whether there could be more to need in life, and then he discovered the need of love. Then after turning 30 there was another wonder of what could be missing, and then he found balance. The piece of existentialist thinking was welcomed with fine attention and cheers.

To sum up it, this was in fact a night with pure love for music at a perfectly balanced show. You got my full recommendations for the Asian and Aussie tour dates this February and North American tour in May.

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Review by Jules Faurschou | @rockonpoets

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