On 2004’s Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, My Chemical Romance played a rousing, frenetic version of goth-punk for a Hot Topic crowd, but Life on the Murder Scene may be a fans-only collection; it’s the crowd enthusiasm, not the band performance, that makes these songs worth watching. The mobbed crowds, mosh-pits, and song-by-song sing-alongs attest to a band with a rabid following.
But take away the kids and what we see is a band unable to carry its songs onto the stage. Yes, “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” is a great pop-punk anthem. Does it need to appear eight times on Murder Scene? Probably not. Same goes for “Helena” and “You Know What They Do to Guys Like Us in Prison,” both sloppy live performances, urged along only by the stupendous momentum of the crowd. Take that visual away, as the live CD does, and things fall apart.