This show was the second show of the day for Fozzy, having played a matinee show earlier in the day with some different support bands. I was somewhat late arriving in the venue nearly an hour after the doors due to interviewing Fozzy frontman Chris Jericho (that interview can be read in a mega exclusive on rocksins.com right here!). As a result, I missed the opening band, Death Valley Piledriver, and the second band, Halcyon Way were already underway. Halcyon Way, from Atlanta, were a thrashy five piece with unique, almost bordering on falsetto vocals at times from singer Steve Braun. The crowd quickly warmed to them as they offered some great riffs and complex solos. There was also a very funny moment when Steve decided to give a few t-shirts to the audience. The first two found members of the audience, but he promptly chucked the third one on top of the lighting rig, where no-one (including himself) could get to it. As he quite succintly put it himself, “Fail”. By the end of their set the swelling crowd was having a great headbanging time and Halcyon Way could only be considered a success.
Based on what I had heard of them, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the UK’s representatives on the show (and main support) Forever Never, as I remember thinking that from the songs I had heard it all sounded a bit generic. That opinion was swiftly 180’d as they came out and started to blow the Garage apart. Frontman Renny Carroll has some of the best mannerisms and command of a stage of any frontman I have ever seen, and the crowd was eating out of the palm of his hands within two songs. There were many Forever Never fans in the audience, which I do not think the band were expecting, as the huge grins on their faces seemed to say “I can’t believe how much you guys are enjoying this”. It was fully deserved as each song got a better response than the previous, and the Essex five piece have such energy on stage you cannot help but have a great time along with them. By the time they finished off with Empty Promises we were on the verge of full blown circle pits. “You guys have been ****ing great!” Said Renny at the end, so were Forever Never. Any thoughts of the band being generic are swiftly struck from the record, I’ll be going back to give their albums another go very soon.
After a changeover period listening to Queen with the crowd belting out the words of most songs louder than the P.A. system, the lights dimmed, We Will Rock You hit the PA, and one by one the Fozzy members appeared on stage, The Duke Rich Ward getting an enormous cheer, second only to the cheer that greeted Chris Jericho, who proceeded to work the crowd expertly with all of his years of WWE and Fozzy experience.
They kicked in with the opener from new album Chasing The Grail, Under Blackened Skies, and an accidental funny moment immediately ensued when Chris went to sing only to find the mic not working so they had to rush him out another one. This was swiftly forgotten as the band was rocking out, Rich Ward was like a whirling dervish on stage jumping every which way shredding in the process while the crowd sang every word at the top of their collective voice. A fantastic start which got even better as they immediately went into Martyr No More (which has got to contain one of the riffs of the year by anyone) and the crowd in The Relentless Garage respond by bouncing along and singing even louder. There were loud Y2J chants that were immediately replaced by louder Fozzy chants.
There were many funny moments during this show, whether it was Rich and Chris dragging their Scottish sound guy Kevin out to hold up the English flag with Fozzy printed on it, after which Rich Ward asked us to do them all a favour and fuck up the Germans in the World Cup, before leading us all in a riff assisted chant of “1966, 1966” or Chris taunting us telling us periodically “Glasgow was better” to louder boos every time, he stopped that after awhile so I think we managed to beat Glasgow.
The set was a nice balance of some of Fozzys earlier material (some covers, some original) with a good selection of tracks from new album Chasing The Grail. The reaction of the night however was for their most well known single Enemy from last album All That Remains, “We had a hit single with this, well it got to like number 273” was how Chris described it. The Garage by this point was bouncing and with as loud an audience as I’ve ever heard in there since it re-opened last year.
“We only have time for one more song” announces Chris to boos. Chris then corrects himself “Well not really, you know we’re gonna come back and play more” before the band launch into Friday The 13th. One of the standout tracks from Chasing The Grail, particularly for its drumming, incited a full blown circle pit and general chaos ensued as the main portion of the evening drew to a close.
The encore was covers time after a rendition of To Kill A Stranger from Happenstance including an awesome cover of a Stuck Mojo song that I admittedly wasn’t very familar with but it was a very good song, featuring The Duke, Chris and a guy (I think from the audience) on co-vocals and George from Forever Never on lead guitar. Rich got a little carried away and dived into the crowd to get us to help with the vocals.
“Hey if we get stuck here because of the Volcano, can I come stay at your house?” asked Rich to the entire crowd. A group of guys to my immediate right responded by starting the best chant I think I’ve ever heard at a show. “F**k my mum, F**k my mum”. Rich and Chris immediately broke up laughing, with Rich declaring it “best chant ever” and Chris asking the guys if their mum was hot. The reply was no, so Rich said “that makes it even better”. There was a small delay in launching into their last song, as Rich was cracking up declaring he’d been mezmerised by the chant. “Freewheel Burnnninn” was the cry from Chris as Fozzy launched into the classic Judas Priest track. This brought the evening to a very satisfying close and there was not an unhappy face in the place.
Fozzy may once have mainly been known because of Chris Jericho’s WWE career and because of Stuck Mojo but they are a fantastic band in their own right who put on a fantastic show, and as the chants throughout the night reflected, they were nearly all for Fozzy, rather than for Y2J. Just as important, they also have a cracking album out now in Chasing The Grail, so there are only 2 things I can recommend; Get the album and go and see Fozzy live when they return, you will not be disappointed. After all, Fozzy ARE “huge rock stars”.
Fozzy’s setlist was:
Under Blackened Skies
Martyr No More
Eat The Rich (Krokus cover)
Daze Of The Weak
God Pounds His Nails
Let The Madness Begin
Feel The Burn
Paraskavedekatriaphobia (Friday The 13th)
To Kill A Stranger
Not Promised Tomorrow (Stuck Mojo cover)
Freewheel Burning (Judas Priest cover)