ALL INCLUSIVE: Gerard Way & Tape at Emo's in Austin, TX
Photos & Story by Kevin Menendez
For this installment of All Inclusive, I wanted to do something different, something a little weird, and what better place to get weird in than a city with a slogan suggesting to keep it weird. So here I am, deep in the heart of the Lone Star State, visiting Austin, Texas. Austin is known throughout the country as being a live music hub for all genres. Here, you can find live music every night almost anywhere you look. Some places will actually host two shows at the same time, just on different floors of the building. This night, I'm checking out a venue named Emo's to see a couple of guys doing things differently than what fans are accustomed to. I'm going to see Gerard Way, the former frontman for emo pioneers, My Chemical Romance and opening for him is current Every Time I Die frontman Keith Buckley in his new side project entitled Tape.
Austin has a plethora of bars and live music venues, but with so much to see and do, with only one day to do it, I was forced to cram as much as I could in my limited time before heading to the show. I made it down to the state capitol building, which was breathtaking in its own right. From there I took a drive to the Welcome to Austin postcard mural, which as you could probably imagine was a huge tourist attraction. When I got there it was flooded, but I was just happy to get a picture with no one in front of it. After I was done being a tourist for a while, I needed to eat and wanted a drink so I headed down to 6th Street to see what I could find. I walked up and down the street without being able to decide on a place for lunch, so I popped in to Moose Knuckle (that's seriously the name of it) and grabbed a drink. After that, I kept it moving and ended up Stubbs, which is famous for its BBQ, and it lived up to its reputation in every sense of the word. I had brisket, chicken, and ribs. The flavor of the food was unlike any other BBQ I've ever had. After, I needed a dessert, and luckily for me there was a brand new Voodoo Doughnuts opening up on 6th street with the grand opening taking place fittingly on Halloween.
From there, I headed over to Emo’s. I was still there about an hour prior to doors, and there were already several hundred fans lined up and eager to get inside. One thing that is for certain is if you are a fan of Gerard Way or Keith Buckley and you go see them expecting some type of MCR or ETID spinoff, you will be more disappointed than all of those Cubs fans who thought they were going to win the World Series this season. Once inside, everyone clambered up to the front of the rail to get as close to the stage as possible.
Up first were Buckley and Tape. It only being their 6th show, it seemed that they were already gaining a following as a "Tape" chant broke out prior to them taking the stage. Unlike an Every Time I Die show, there were no screaming guitars, circle pits, or head banging to be had on this night. Tape isn't in anyway shape or form a rock band. They use an electric drum kit, some keyboards, and synthesizers. Tape is certain to catch fans of Buckley off guard, but that isn’t a bad thing. It's funky and something that everyone can to vibe out to. At first, people seemed taken aback and shocked at what they were hearing, but quickly into the opening song "Press Play" more and more heads started to nod, and it only got better as the set progressed with songs like "Synthetic" and "Guest Appearance.” Buckley was singing over some incredible sounds, and as the show went on, you could see confidence building in himself and his bandmates, and they finished up and left to an overwhelming ovation from the Austin crowd.
Finally, after hours of waiting around by most of the very young crowd, it was time for Gerard Way to come out. The lights went down, and out came Gerard Way's band, The Hormones, who have created a sound all their own - I can't even compare it to anything else out there. It's almost like Way wanted to touch on as many different sounds as possible from 70’s glam rock in the song "Get The Gang Together,” or an 80’s rock sound in “Juarez." He holds nothing back, and it almost seems like he did all he could to distance himself from anything close to what My Chemical Romance was. There was a sense of vindication in the air, a sense of relief on his face, and he just seemed to be up there having genuine fun with his bandmates and fans. Throughout the night, there were numerous sing alongs and fans just absolutely losing their shit. He played for over an hour, and the momentum of the show never slowed down for a minute. Way played almost every song of his first solo album, entitled "Hesitant Alien,” my personal favorite was the song “Brother," which started with a very cool piano intro and turned into an old school ballad, which was really fun. On this night, it appeared that Way could do no wrong, and he left the crowd wanting more, to the point where many of them were waiting outside the venue in hopes of catching a glimpse of him as he came outside.
The sounds of Tape and Way probably came off weird to some and amazing to others. I loved seeing someone like Keith Buckley step outside his comfort zone and have the stones to do something different. It was also just nice to see one of the better frontmen around back up on a stage doing what he should be doing; entertaining large crowds of screaming fans. I'm glad I was able to make this trip to Austin and partake in the beauty of this concert.