Where to begin with this review? I’ve been a fan of Fozzy for a few years now but hadn’t had the opportunity to see them live, so suffice it to say it would be an understatement to say I was excited for this gig and had high expectations.
Well first up to bat were Canadian Punk rock bank Sumo Cyco. Now I’m gonna be honest and say that prior to this event I hadn’t heard of Sumo Cyco, but now I can safely say I will never forget them. Firstly I will address the elephant in the room and say that the outfits worn by lead singer Skye Sweetnam wears on stage certainly leave little to the imagination and will certainly leave you talking about the band. Appearances aren’t everything though, especially when it comes to metal and it is the music that really matters. Sumo Cyco definitely did not disappoint.
Skye’s vocals can stretch across any venue and leave you wanting more. The band itself has a great sound and their passion and energy put into their sets is something I simply love in live music. They also get to grips with their fans and have no qualm with jumping down to the barrier to get up close and personal. Skye however did not stop their and during one of their songs not only jumped up to the barrier but ran round it, sang whilst surrounded by the crowd, only to make her way up onto the bar. It is reminiscent of what I believe rock and metal once strived to be, different.
It is a genuine rarity for me to see band members actually delve into the crowd itself and I don’t think anything makes me think more rock and roll lifestyle then jumping up on a bar and signing your heart out. Then to add to this is guitarist Matt “Dodger” who took his guitar to the barrier, again seeing anyone besides the singer go up to the barrier is something I hadn’t seen before and made a welcome change.
I can honestly say that I didn’t have high expectations for Sumo Cyco before the gig. This was due to a number of reasons, I’m not the biggest fan of the punk genre and I’m honestly more of a fan of male fronted metal bands for the sound. Sumo Cyco took all those reservations and threw them right out the window. I can say I walked away from that gig regretting not having heard of them sooner or seen their previous two tours of the UK. With the band starting work on their second album with UK producer James LeRock, they’ve certainly started building more of a name for themselves. It’s easy to say that I honestly look forward to the next time they come back to the UK and do see a bright future for these guys.
Next on the line up were veteran US rockers Nonpoint. This was a name I was more familiar with and was honestly looking forward to seeing them perform. Well all I can say was I was not disappointed and loved the energy of this band. They know just how to work a crowd and get them going. Bearing in mind that prior to Nonpoint starting their set, I wasn’t too enthralled with the crowd and felt like they seemed like a tough crowd to impress.
I loved the bands mix of rap style vocals mixed in with the bassy vocals synonymous with metal. They have a very in your face style of delivery that I do love about the metal genre and these guys meet that quality. I had a personal roar of approval on them playing “bullet with a name” which is a firm favourite of mine from these guys. The guys pride themselves on being different to other bands to the point they will scrap a whole song if it sound too similar to someone else’s. I can honestly see that as most bands tend to have similarities between them, a lot taking influences from the great classic metal bands such as Maiden, but these guys had uniqueness about them that I found refreshing.
The band even made a joke by introducing themselves as Korn, however although there is a very mild resemblance in the type of metal, I honestly do believe they have set their own way in the world of metal and is no wonder they’ve been going as long as they have. They’re bassy guitar riffs and thumping bass just made me want to put my camera down and jump in with the crowd to enjoy it. With their next album in the works, I honestly do hope to see these guys back in the UK and hope to be spending time with them again as these guys are characters both on and behind the stage. If you haven’t already I do recommend giving these guys a listen.
Now onto the main event of the evening and that is the legends that are Fozzy. The excitement levels could be felt in the air, which for a small venue like the 02 academy Islington really adds to that. Now I really am a fan of Fozzy, Chris’s vocals remind me of the great heavy metal bands that kicked off the genre as we know it today. They give me the sense of excitement that fans of metal get when Maiden or Sabbath walk on stage. I just truly get a sense of nostalgic, true blue heavy metal when I hear these guys play. I can honestly say my ten year old self would have done somersaults when the guys walked out and Chris started the gig off with the lighting of the Jericho jacket you often see him wearing through his wrestling career.
I’m honestly so happy that the band prefer not to tie Chris’s wrestling career into the band, as honestly these guys are truly legends in their own right and I will happily say one of my personal favourites. They played a lot of the classics that I will always remember rocking to over the last 10 or so years since first finding out about them such as “Enemy”. Now as far as stage performance goes, oh! What a show, Fozzy are not just rockers, not just metal heads, they are all out performers.
From a photographer’s point of view, I can say that Chris is not an easy guy to get a picture of as he is full of motion on stage and does not stand still, but I love that in a singer. There is nothing more boring than seeing a vocalist standing there like a tree routed to the ground. Now in terms of the music itself Franks drumming left the hairs standing on the back of my neck and the guitar styles of Billy, Rich “the Duke” Ward and Randy drake just flow together like a dream. I may be being biased in this review as I’ve loved Fozzy for years, but even as a fan this review does these guys no justice.
As an added highlight of the night was the moment Chris Jericho ripped his trousers on stage, right on the arse and made a great point of showing off the tearing to the, now in hysterics crowd. It was also another great fan moment to see Chris jump down onto the barrier and literally sign to the people at the barrier, and then watched as towards the end of the night the rest of the band kneeled to the Duke. These guys truly do have some dedicated fans and you can clearly see that Fozzy love them and really give it their all and make the night special for them.
I would recommend them to anyone and say if anyone is debating going to one of their concert, do it. You will not be disappointed. Not only are they a great band to listen to but you will have fun, you will laugh and you will walk out of that venue wanting so much more.