I’ve often dismissed Fozzy in the past because when people say they’re going to see them, it’s for Chris Jericho and they were big fans when he was wrestling. “Oh, I need to see Fozzy because Chris Jericho!” Good for you but what sort of music do the band play? “Rock.” Wow, that’s specific. What kind? According to Jericho himself, a hybrid of Metallica and Journey. Given I’m not a Journey fan and Metallica haven’t made a good record in my lifetime; this was going to be an interesting night, for sure.
Honestly, it was weird seeing a band in the Garage which wasn’t the Quireboys. So after I made my way past the door staff who obviously love their jobs (I’ll let you decide if that’s sarcasm), I made camp near the back of the room and it wasn’t long before opening band Malrun appeared. I can appreciate some metalcore if it’s done well. This was. Big, chunky riffs with screaming and clean vocals. Fantastic work coming from the drums too. Working with a tight time slot, they hammered through the handful of songs they have, mentioning an album which I hope to check out.
Next up were the Dirty Youth who I’d heard good things about but none of their material. After the second song was finished, I couldn’t help but clap. They seemed to be enjoying their great reception. And when you have a song with lyrics “La-la-la-la-la-la, let’s get drunk” and you sing that to a Glasgow crowd, there’s not going to be many people arguing, even on a week night. Getting a bit more time than their predecessors, they still didn’t hang around. A bit less metal but still enjoyably heavy, Danni Monroe commanded her crowd with an air of professionalism. I definitely got the feeling she works hard on her craft. And it’s another band for me to listen to. Two bands down and two new bands to listen to. This was already a win in my book.
As the Garage filled with people as they waited for Fozzy, several chants broke out including “Y2J” (wrestling, perhaps?), “Fozzy! Fozzy!” and that asinine “here we go” chant. The one thing I noticed was the vast majority of the crowd were your general rocker types. And the fact the first two bands had been pretty damn good, my hopes were raised. I wanted to like this band. Taking to the stage with a roaring crowd, Fozzy then proceeded to give us eighty or so minute of balls to the wall rock and roll. And you know what? It was awesome.
The Garage was full of people who were here to see a rock show and not a wrestling star front a band. Chris Jericho knows how to work a crowd. Bouncing around the stage, he was putting everything he had into the show and if he does that every night, kudos to him. I’d rather have a frontman love his own band’s material than not give a damn.
It may sound clichéd to say it but the entire performance, he had them eating out the palm of his hand. Clearly he’s taken some tips from Freddie Mercury, copying his call and response “ay-yo!” but putting his own spin on it. The crowd loved it but for me, only Freddie will be the master of that. He also led a round of “here we go” much to the audience’s enjoyment. That aside, Jericho did call out the bullshit involved in leaving the stage to come back on for an encore. Instead, they kept playing through, taking a breather to towel off the varnish of sweat they had accumulated.
Metallica and Journey combined? Well, I couldn’t hear the Metallica influences; it was more akin to Motörhead with bass less prominent and not quite so fast. That being said, Metallica always did cite Lemmy’s band as an influence. Speaking of bass, on the four string was Corey Lowery, standing in for Jeff Rouse (also of Duff McKagan’s Loaded) who had other commitments so couldn’t manage the UK leg of the tour. [Thank you to Sarah Drew for pointing out our original error in the article and apologies to Jeff for not crediting him – Mosh] Guitars came in the form of Billy Grey and Rich Ward. And beating the drums to a pulp was Frank Fontsere. Slightly too loud for my liking and at times eclipsing Jericho’s vocals but I can’t fault Fontsere for that. Nor Jericho for having a weak voice because he doesn’t.
Clearly, Fozzy has a passionate following, no song receiving a poor welcome. Not being a fan, I couldn’t tell you songs they were playing but judging from previous sets on this tour, most albums have had a look-in with the new album Do You Wanna Start a War featuring heavily. Hell, they even did a cover of Abba’s “S.O.S” (I had to look it up, I swear) and people lapped it up. I can see why, this isn’t just someone fronting a band as a project. This is a legitimate rock band and I only wish I had heard of them sooner. I thoroughly enjoyed them. I want to hear more of them and I’ll definitely be out to see them again.