Reviews \

VMA After Hours

My Chemical Romance rolls from Rockefeller to a small downtown venue, and all the big winners dance the night away.

On VMA night, as with almost any awards show, the actual ceremony is simply window dressing, an excuse to plunder expense accounts and throw massive parties. This year’s VMAs were no exception, with frantic hands tugging at velvet ropes all over New York City from the moment Jack Black brought the telecast to a close.

The night’s biggest surprise came from My Chemical Romance, who melted faces during the VMA pre-show with a set atop the GE building in Rockefeller Center. The band then eschewed the awards, packed their gear, relocated to Lower Manhattan’s tiny Knitting Factory, and played a taut, hour-long set for a small but vigilant assemblage of street team members, family, and friends. MCR took the wraps off a few songs from their forthcoming album, The Black Parade, and frontman Gerard Way thanked about everyone in his little black book for supporting them through the recording process.

A bit farther uptown, VMA winners Panic! at the Disco and Fall Out Boy celebrated their trophies at West Side club Plumm for Decaydance, Crush Management, Linda Perry and Todd Moscowitz’s afterparty. Although FOB bassist Pete Wentz was absent, singer Patrick Stump and guitarist Joe Trohman danced to the hip-hop blasting from the DJ booth while surrounded by a veritable Warped Tour crowd of friends: Gym Class Heroes singer Travis McCoy, New Found Glory drummer Cyrus Bolooki, and Armor For Sleep singer Ben Jorgenson.

Warner Brothers and Atlantic Records hosted one of the evening’s more exclusive parties at West Side club Buddakan. With a slew of paparazzi flashing pictures of celebrities like Brandon Davis (sadly without Paris Hilton) and Zach from The Real World: Key West on the red carpet outside, the packed club turned away many of the less-than-famous partygoers waiting outside.

The weekly Stolen Transmission party at the Lower East Side’s Annex was an off-the-radar refuge for Killers guitarist Dave Keuning and bassist Mark Stoermer as regular DJs Ultragrrrl and Karen Plus One spun the best of hipster rock. Members of Secret Machines, Cooper Temple Clause, Nightmare of You, and Thursday were spotted around the club’s dark basement room where streamers and balloons evidenced the celebration of stellastarr* bassist Mandy Tannen’s birthday. MTV VJ Gideon Yago was also in attendance. PETER GASTON & EMILY ZEMLER