Fozzy – New Century Hall Manchester – 4th November 2022
Fozzy head into Manchester on the opening night of their UK and Ireland Save The World Tour.
It would be easy to dismiss Fozzy as a novelty act side project of an egotistical pro-wrestler – or sports entertainer perhaps more appropriately – particularly when you consider the band’s origin as a covers group, complete with wrestling-esque gimmick. That isn’t to say that the charismatic front-man – incidentally one of my heroes for 25 years – doesn’t have a large ego of course. But to dismiss Fozzy as anything but a great old-school rock and roll band would be incredibly misguided. It should come as no surprise that the band continues to go from strength to strength when you consider the band members playing ability and backgrounds – which includes Stuck Mojo guitarist Rich ‘The Duke’ Ward, and Trixter bassist PJ Farley – coupled with Jericho’s unmatched and indisputable confidence and charisma.
First up in support tonight are Wales’ Scarlet Rebels. Fresh off the release of their first top 40 album, See Through Blue. Lead singer Wayne Doyle is in great form as he and the band (which includes Josh Townshend, son and nephew of The Who’s Simon and Pete) warm the crowd up before second support act, Escape The Fate.
Having gone through numerous line-up changes, the current iteration of Escape The Fate looks and sounds fresh, and mean business as they work through a set that features songs from various stages of the band’s career – all of which feature trademark screams from front-man Craig Mabitt. And very loud music. Both of which help to roll back the years for some of the older emo fans – shout out to the lady who inadvertently hit me on the head on my way back from the toilet, despite me specifically trying to navigate my way past her, such was her joy.
After a number of classic rock staples in-between acts – including Journey and Queen – to keep the audience in good spirits, Fozzy emerge, looking every bit the classic 80s-inspired rock stars (which is meant as anything but a pejorative term): Long hair, check. Leather jackets, check. Leopard print, check. Bare chest, check. Bit of face paint, check. Devil horns, check.
Starting out with the opening track, Sane, from their most recent album Boombox, the band then rip through songs from their 22-year career, which includes four others from Boombox (which incidentally had its first airing in the UK on the last tour when front-man Jericho was taken ill and unable to sing). Show highlights include Do You Wanna Start A War (if for no other reason than the fun that Jericho is having as he aptly, and somewhat manically, fires smoke from his CO2 hand-cannon), Relax from Boombox (yes, the Frankie Goes To Hollywood one) and recent hit I Still Burn.
It’s clear that all of the band have missed touring and are embracing being back on the stage, and after ten songs – and more rock star poses than I could care to count – Fozzy remind the crowd that they are beautiful on the inside and belt out their signature crowd-pleaser and singalong, Judas, which stands up as a genuine modern classic of the heavy rock genre. The set is closed as Fozzy come full circle by returning to their cover roots and end the show with a banging version of AC/DC’s Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.
Pro-wrestling’s gain will be the rock scenes loss when the evergreen, and multi-careered, Jericho returns to the squared circle to continue his day job. Though we can be hopeful that Fozzy will be his main interest when he hangs up the wrestling boots; and thankful that his bandmates are involved in a range of projects to tie us over until Fozzy return.
2. One Crazed Anarchist
3. Nowhere to Run
4. Do You Wanna Start a War
5. Lights Go Out
6. Relax (Frankie Goes to Hollywood cover)
7. I Still Burn
10. The Vulture Club
12. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (AC/DC cover)
Categories: Live Reviews