Thursday, 6 January 2011

Chris Jericho/Fozzy Live Gig Review

Fozzy: Let The Madness Begin Tour - Belfast Gig Review

By Phil Allely

He may be better known to a great many people as one of professional wrestling’s greatest superstars and in-ring characters, but that’s not where Chris Jericho’s heart really lies these days. Jericho (real name Christopher Irvine) has been involved in music for a lot longer than he has wrestling and has a real passion for making music and performing. He fronts fast-rising rock band Fozzy and after a five year break their 2010 UK tour brought them to Belfast once again. So just what did Belfast get from the band who began their life as a covers act named Fozzy Osbourne?

The Spring and Airbrake venue in Belfast’s city centre is a far cry from the large stadiums Chris regularly performed in as part of the WWE’s live shows and pay-per-views, but as he said himself during our lengthy pre-show interview he ‘loves playing live’ and ‘to be able to see the fans in the front rows sing-along to Fozzy’s songs is a bonus in playing more intimate venues‘.

The show itself was well paced and Jericho was hardly out of sight for long. From his entrance where he came in like the star he is all smile and sunglasses, to his rousing finale, this man proved he was one of those rare and annoying things, someone who can easily excel at more than one thing and overshadow all who’ve tried before, carving two different and interchangeable careers for himself. Plus he has a very decent rock voice, which he not only knows how to use, but can adapt to cover the softer tracks on Fozzy’s set list too. The band are a sum of their gathered talents though and each does play their part to the hilt, even if Jericho quite rightly is the main focus for many who watch them.

Fozzy’s music style is a mix of classic rock heavyweights of the 1970s and 1980s melodically styles mixed with more harder modern edge. Letting their music open itself to more than one distinct fan base.

The set comprised mainly of Fozzy’s latest album release Chasing The Grail and a few other tracks from the bands back catalogue, plus a cover or two. The large crowd in attendance thoroughly enjoyed each riff, joined in the lyrics and had a blast rocking along with a fully charged Jericho bounding about the stage. He never let up during the entire set, seemingly soaking up the energy and enthusiasm he was generating amongst the baying masses. The wrestling based chants, in-jokes by fellow band mates and other grappling related things went down well with the feisty front man, taking them on the chin, smiling and getting on with his performance.

During our conversation prior to the show Chris informed me that whilst previous gigs had been packed solid the fans were a bit quiet at times, he had even higher expectations for the Northern Irish fans, who were all eagerly awaiting the ‘Fozzy experience‘. He was to disappointed as we Belfast natives once again proved that this really is the place to play live rock music in, we welcome it with open arms, we adore it, buy it in shed loads and know a good band when we see one. Fozzy said they would leave us a ‘sweaty mess who had just experienced a real life hard working rock band’ and you know what they did just that.

Support acts Symphony Cult and Death Valley Driver were in the unenviable roles of warming up a crowd who just wanted to see Fozzy, however they did do their job and win over some new fans along the way. Symphony Cult’s Charlotte especially was on the receiving end of some adoring Irish eyes as her angsty voice and alluring style entranced the Belfast boys and girls.

Fozzy’s album Chasing The Grail is available now.

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