The Night 89x Stole Christmas

By • Jan 6th, 2011 • Category: By Evelyn Miska Krieger, Features, Live Event, Live Show Review

Featuring My Chemical Romance, Sick Puppies and Middle Class Rut
The Fillmore Detroit
December 17, 2010

The last few years haven’t been good for Detroit. From the lousy economy and auto company bailouts to the ousted and imprisoned former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, things have been rough. This downward spiral even seemed to hit the entertainment industry in the area with less than exciting lineups for the usual Christmas concerts. However, maybe this year’s lineup for the Night 89x Stole Christmas foreshadows an upswing for the city. With Middle Class Rut, Sick Puppies and yet another incarnation of My Chemical Romance, this year’s holiday show was sold out and well worth the hype.

Middle Class Rut put on a good show despite it being apparent that, for the most part, the audience wasn’t there with the goal of seeing their set. The band was also challenged with the fact that many audience members weren’t even in the theater yet and still standing outside in the sub-freezing temperatures due to the doors opening late and a rather slow progression through ticketing and security. That said, the band did a good job with the time they had on stage, letting their energy build up to their current radio hit “New Low.”

In some ways, Sick Puppies were the surprise of the night with an exceptionally strong set and an infectious energy and great attitude. The band’s stage presence complimented their musical style perfectly and it is almost certain that they made quite a few new fans from this show. Although they teased the audience with the opening of Rage Against The Machine’s “Testify” there were a number of their own songs that got the audience excited including their current radio hits “You’re Going Down” and “Maybe.”

Yet, the night belonged to My Chemical Romance. Hot on the heels of the release of their most recent full-length album, Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys the show was a good mix of songs from their entire catalog. With little ceremony, the band ripped into their current single “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)” to the clear enthusiasm of the audience. Frontman Gerard Way kept the talking to a minimum and let the music do most of the work, which was fine according to fans. Other new songs that made the mix were “Planetary (Go!)” and “Vampire Money,” two of the strongest songs from the new album. The mix of tracks made it impossible to miss the change in style that the band has progressed through with the newer songs being much more dance influenced than their previous, harder sound. That said, “Vampire Money,” although a bit of a surprise for being included since it comes quite late on the new album and isn’t that well known, had a great live sound with a great rock and roll/punk feel to it.

There were a few hits from Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge that made the mix for the show including the crowd favorites “Helena” and “Thank You For The Venom.” Although it’s been a few years since My Chemical Romance has toured with these songs being so prominent in the mix, they are great live and added good balance to the show. Likewise, “Mama” and “Teenagers” from The Black Parade still had that huge, arena-rock sound even though the venue was far more intimate than most of those the band played for The Black Parade tour. One of the few surprises for the night was the inclusion of the band’s cover for Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row,” a track they’d recorded for the movie Watchmen, something the band hasn’t played all that frequently live.

My Chemical Romance rounded out the show with “Cancer” and “The Kids From Yesterday.” Although the latter isn’t one of the most outstanding tracks on the new album, it definitely had that encore feel to it and that it isn’t as good a song as many of the others played that night didn’t seem to bother the audience in the slightest. Not mentioned particularly but hard to ignore was the fact that Bob Bryar, My Chemical Romance’s drummer since 2004, was absent. According to the band’s website, Bryar left the band in March 2010 for undisclosed reasons. However, tour drummer Michael Pedicone did an excellent job filling those big shoes and keeping up with the rather extensive set list for the show.

Was the show the same huge spectacle that came with The Black Parade tour? No, but it wasn’t necessary. While the spectacle is entertaining, this year’s The Night 89x Stole Christmas was just straight-up good fun. –EVELYN MISKA KRIEGER

PHOTOS BY: EVELYN MISKA KRIEGER

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