Tonight promises to be an energy filled affair as Fozzy roll back into London town to rip The Underworld apart. But have they completely thrown off the shackles of their cover band past?
Starting off the evening are Reverted (7/10). They’re a metal band based in Camden itself. I have had the privilege of watching them before and they show great potential. Falling foul of the pitfalls of being the opening band, they start playing to a very quiet room. The crowd is still very much sober and not paying them the attention they clearly deserve. After a somewhat shaky start, lead singer Tony Vega gets into the groove and really takes control of the stage. Singles Tolerance and Die My Saint go down well and the Metallica style vocals and grungy guitars seems fresh and never derivative. This is a band to keep your eye on.
Malrun (7/10) are the second band on tonight and they aren’t a band I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing before. The Danish melodic rockers come out fighting and immediately get a positive reaction from the crowd. Despite having changed lead singers less than a year ago, they sound tight, professional and ready to get the crowd jumping. Mostly focussing on material from their latest offering Two Thrones, they successfully show that they have a vision for the future and they are exploding with potential. With singer Nicklas Sonne demonstrating his wide range of vocal abilities and the band backing him up with huge grins on their faces, I can’t wait until I get the chance to see them again.
As main support tonight, we have Welsh rockers, The Dirty Youth (8/10). They make a welcome change to the proceedings as lead singer Danni Monroe brings a much needed feminine touch to an otherwise very testosterone heavy night. Despite being able to scream down the microphone like a banshee, she mostly delivers a stunning vocal performance. She has a very unique and pleasing tone to her voice and this compliments the upbeat rock being played by her comrades tonight. Her stage attire consisting of shiny leggings, exposed midriff, Ozzy-esque arm tassels and even LED adorned sunglasses add a bit of glamour, mostly unseen in The Underworld.
A surprising rendition of RATM’s Killing In The Name Of gets the entire flooring jumping and was a nice closer to a very fun set. This is a band that has worked tirelessly over the years and you have to feel for them. They just need to keep the hits coming and catch a break.
Then comes the moment everyone has been waiting for. Fozzy (9/10), walk onto the stage accompanied by the WWE’s favourite son, Chris Jericho. The crowd have already been chanting Fozzy, Fozzy, Fozzy for what seems like an eternity, and they go absolutely crazy when they actually appear.
Chris struts onto the stage in a jacket covered in sparkling LEDs and just oozes charisma from the moment he starts to sing. The crowd show their love for the US rockers by belting out every lyric to the opening track Do You Wanna Start A War? and basically do the same for every song that follows. Fozzy have managed to build up an impressive fan base over the years. Not only by amassing a quality back catalogue to draw from, but also by showing that they give 100% every night and that they have fun doing it.
They show tonight with the smiles on their faces that they aren’t here to do the generic, miserable, angsty rock star thing. They love what they do, they love the fans and they feed off the energy that they get from them. Very few bands have the crowd chanting their name after every single song without encouragement. As I have said before, I truly believe guitarist Rich Ward to be the happiest guy in rock. Despite being a veteran, he looks like a child on Christmas morning every time he plays and he never stops smiling.
With a nice mix of newer songs like Sandpaper and old favourites such as Enemy and God Pounds His Nails, the band bounce around the stage with the energy of five 10 year olds on a sugar rush. The floor responds and at times, resembles a scene from 300. They also achieve something I’ve never seen before; they create a mosh pit for an ABBA song! Their cover of SOS is flawless and literally makes my jaw drop when the crowd goes bat-shit crazy for it.
Fozzy and especially Chris Jericho, are always fun to watch. Maybe it’s due to his many years in front of huge WWE audiences, but he knows how to work a crowd. He proves that he isn’t just a singer tonight, he’s a performer. Fozzy are a fantastic band to watch on a bad day, but tonight is something else. Arguably their greatest London performance to date, they show an enthusiasm and love for their fans that is desperately lacking in so many of today’s bands. They have come so far from their roots, that it’s difficult to associate them with the covers band they once were and the fans shouting more wrestling than music chants at their shows.
Fozzy finally have their own spot in the rock world, and they truly deserve it.
FozzyCamden Underworld - 11th March 2015
Photographer: Colm Browne