It’s Saturday night, Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street is its usual hive of activity, there’s a slight chill in the air and it’s pitch black – almost. Fozzy and Hardcore Superstar’s co-headline tour crashes into the Garage and with four bands on the bill and the Garage’s curfew of 10pm, it means doors are an incredibly early time of 5:30 but it doesn’t deter the healthy crowd already amassed at the barrier.
First to grace the stage (ten minutes earlier than advertised no less) are The Last Band. Misnomer aside, they take full advantage of their time, heavy and loaded with anger, it’s like a more straightforward hard rock take on Rage Against the Machine. And as soon as my brain forms that thought, they launch into a faithful rendition of “Bulls On Parade”. Well-received by the audience, they win them over with relative ease despite the vocals being largely lost in the mix.
Madame Mayhem explode onto the stage with an in-your-face sound. Taking that coveted spot of “Loudest band I’ve ever seen”, the drums are bordering on overpowering yet at the same time, the five-piece all have room to breathe and nothing is lost in the mix unlike their predecessors. The band have an air of familiarity to them, a sound that’s pretty common in the unsigned scene but the titular Madame Mayhem has crafted her band into a high quality outfit as she barely stays still on stage. Melodic yet heavy, they make sure to leave their mark on the night with it being their first time in Glasgow.
The first of tonight’s headliners grace the stage as the four-piece sleaze rock band Hardcore Superstar rattle through their dozen or so songs. Loaded with energy, it’s clear they have a lot of fans in the room and as always with co-headliners, it can always be tough as you don’t know how many fans you’re actually playing to whilst the crowd politely wait out the time. However, the Swedes are obviously confident they’re playing in front of their crowd and feed off the energy as the audience are completely up for it. Wasting no time they put the foot to the floor with songs like “Beg for It”, “My Good Reputation” and “Last Call for Alcohol”. As tight as they were last time I caught them, they make sure the fans are joining in and their punk-flavoured hard rock full of crunchy riffs has the crowd enraptured.
Last but not least to take the stage, Fozzy are greeted with a sea of horns raised to the rafters as they open with the title track from their latest album, Judas which is immediately followed by “Drinkin’ With Jesus”. While Hardcore Superstar had the risk of playing to people waiting for Fozzy, Chris Jericho and his band of brothers face the other risk: people leaving after their desired headliner. However, it seems tonight there was a lot of crossover as the crowd seemed as large as ever.
Staples like “Do You Want to Start a War”, “Spider in My Mouth” and “Bad Tattoo” are hit before they cover Abba’s “SOS”. Admittedly, they do a good job and it actually makes Abba listenable. The only real delve into the back catalogue comes in the form of “Enemy” as the “closer” with much of the set comprised of Fozzy’s last three albums which speaks volumes of how their quality on record has increased exponentially.
It’s at this point Jericho repeats, practically word for word, about not going off stage just to come back on and repeats the whole “cover my head with the towel, I’ll raise it and lower it and have the crowd’s cheers match it” before launching into “Sandpaper”. That aside, Jericho is as charismatic as they come onstage and whilst he may not be bounding about as much as last time, he makes sure he has the crowd entertained from start to finish. Meanwhile the rest of the band are loaded with energy and the chants of “Fozzy!” between every song lets them have a quick breather though it looked like they could have gone double the length of time they were on.
Despite being billed as a co-headliner with each band getting the same length of time, there was a definite feel that Fozzy were the true headliners and rightly so. Whilst all the bands on the bill were fantastic, Fozzy brought the evening to another level and to have Hardcore Superstar on after them would have been a bit of an anti-climax. With a sold out show and many people looking for tickets on the lead up to the night, they really should have been booked into a bigger room; always an option for next time.