By Nattalie Tehrani, Senior writer, 16, South HS (Torrance)
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Ville Valo, from HIM, sings his heart out at the Projekt Revolution Tour this summer in San Bernardino.

Photo by Nattalie Tehrani, 16, South HS (Torrance)

I have an unhealthy obsession with My Chemical Romance. So when I got an e-mail saying they were going to be one of the three headliners on the Projekt Revolution tour, my heart did a Snoopy dance. Then I read the rest of the list of artists on the tour. Taking Back Sunday, who was also a headliner, HIM, Mindless Self Indulgence, Placebo, Saosin and of course Linkin Park, the band that put the tour together. It was too good to be true. I jumped up and down screaming, until I landed badly on my ankle and twisted it. But I didn’t notice how painful it was because of all the adrenaline running through my body.
The concert was in San Bernardino, which is about two hours from where I live. Thankfully, I had convinced my parents to drive me. I was antsy and excited the whole drive. I got there at 11 a.m., an hour before the doors opened. I was flying solo because none of my friends could make it. I’ve gone to concerts alone before, and really it’s not that bad. You meet some awesome people who share some of the same interests and obviously the same taste in music as you. While standing in line, in what felt like a zillion degrees, I met two people who, it turned out, I had met at a My Chemical Romance concert two years before. Small world, huh?
Twelve o’clock hit and I made my way to the Revolution Stage, where smaller bands like Mindless Self Indulgence (MSI), Saosin and Madina Lake played. Mindless Self Indulgence was probably one of the greatest live acts I’ve seen in a while. Lead singer Jimmy Urine (fascinating name) is a ball of energy. He climbed speakers, jumped up and down, ran around the stage, basically acting like a madman. It was good to see a band with female musicians, too. MSI has a female drummer and a female bassist. It made me proud that women are out there rocking out alongside the boys. MSI is so unique, everything from their clothing (Jimmy put on butterfly wings at one point) to the way they interacted with the crowd. “You, kid, go fetch me a hot dog. Hurry, I’m dying here!” ordered Jimmy. And so, the kid did, and when he returned with the hot dog, Jimmy sat down and took his time to eat it while the crowd watched. The random and funny things like that added excitement to the set.
At 4 p.m. I headed to the main stage where Linkin Park, HIM, Placebo, Taking Back Sunday and MCR were to play. Placebo was intense to say the least. It’s one of the few bands that still have the glam rock sound, and they have edgy lyrics. HIM was also outstanding. Ville Valo seems to look more and more like Johnny Depp every day. He had the whole pirate moustache, smoldering brown eyes and messy “I’m a nocturnal genius” hair happening, and hey, who’s complaining. They played a new song, “The Kiss of Dawn,” which will be on their new record coming out Sept. 18. Valos’s voice is deep and smoky (probably due to the seven cigarettes he smoked during the set) and the band’s lyrics are so beautiful and romantic. Valo pretty much summed it up when he said “We have a lot of happy sounding bands playing, so we’re here to bring some darkness to this festival.” I would recommend this band to anyone who likes Siouxsie and the Banshees or a more modern band such as AFI.
My seat was OK, about 15 rows from the stage, but I wasn’t about to watch MCR’s lead singer Gerard Way’s dancing from afar. I needed a better view. I had a plan—the “Looking for Friends While on Cell” trick. I put on a frantic expression and kept yelling to my imaginary friend on the other end of the line, “Where are you? Oh wait, I see you, I’m coming!” while avoiding eye contact with the security guard. I saw empty seats in the third row, so I jumped into the row and hid among a couple of large, drunk men. Mission accomplished.
Their set was a backdrop with wolves that had red glowing eyes and on the drum platform it read, “She Loves You.” I don’t know what it meant but it set the dramatic mood MCR usually goes for. The band walked out one by one and within five minutes of them playing my voice was already gone. A thing you should know about My Chemical Romance is that the songs on the album are completely different live. The lyrics are the same, and his voice is awesome, but they add intros and twists. The best example is “You Know What They Do to Guys Like Us in Prison.” Any MCR fan knows that something over the top is going to happen during the song, because every time they play it live, Way puts a twist on it. During our show Way grabbed guitarist Frank Iero by the hair and they had a make-out session. If they were trying to get the crowd to scream, it definitely worked.
Halfway into the set Way got a cut and blood was dripping down his face, but strangely enough, he didn’t seem to notice. He just kept prancing around being the flamboyant performer that he is. “Jump Jump Jump … just jummmppp!!!” he yelled in between verses and choruses. So what did I do? Well, I jumped. The whole set. I sang every word and yelled until I couldn’t anymore. The excitement, it’s a rush that you don’t get anywhere else other than when you see your favorite band. They ended the set with one of my favorite songs, “Cancer.” It’s such an honest and deep song that whenever I hear them play it live it gives me chills. “Put those lighters up!!” commanded Way. I turned around and it was one of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen. Everyone had their lighters and cells in the air, giving the venue a breathtaking glow. The full moon and dusky sky added a perfect touch. They finished the song, bowed and walked off just as quickly as they had come on. I’ve seen them four times and they’ve gotten better every time I see them.
The best part of this festival was that there was so much variety. I’ve gone to festivals that had bands that played the same genre of music, but Projekt Revolution was different. It turned me on to so many new bands and that’s ultimately what you want to get out of going to festivals.