Now that wrestler Chris Jericho has left the world of WWE behind him, for the moment anyway, he can focus full time on his heavy metal band Fozzy. They have a new album, ‘Sin and Bones’, and a new European tour, which kicked off in Cork on November 23rd, before coming to the Academy in Dublin on Saturday night.
“We always love to come to Ireland,” Jericho told Goldenplec recently, and their Academy show proved just how true this statement was.
Dublin rockers, Eazy Tyger opened up the show with a crowd pleasing set of classic hard rock. They were followed by The Voodoos from Cork, who kept the classic vibe going with a set of sizzling guitar riffs and a frontman vaguely reminiscent of Stephen Tyler.
The crowd were chanting “Fozzy, Fozzy” (and some were even chanting “Y2J”, letting the rest of us know that there were more than a few wrestling fans in the house), when the lights dimmed and the band made a grand, theatrical entrance to the sound of AC/DC’s Have a Drink on Me.
Jericho’s impeccable showmanship was evident the instant he arrived on stage. For a moment before plunging into their first song he just stood on the stage, baring tree trunk arms and blonde quiff, wearing aviator sunglasses and a black sleeveless t-shirt with a picture of Phil Lynott on it.
And then they were off. Jericho barely stood still for even a second. Instead he leaped around the stage and tossed his mic stand around while demonstrating a surprisingly wide vocal range and even more surprising ability to make it all the way up to the high notes. It was an immaculately rehearsed performance, with an impressive light show totally in sync with the band’s movements.
Fozzy ripped through Sandpaper and Eat the Rich, showing plenty of influences from such masters of rock as AC/DC, Zakk Wylde and of course Ozzy Osbourne, the source of the band’s name. It also struck me how much of Fozzy’s performance bears a resemblance to Alter Bridge, with Jericho resembling a bulked-up version of their frontman Myles Kennedy.
The only difference is that Fozzy didn’t have a single slow song in their set, and barely a single slow moment in any of their songs. Between each song the crowd chanted the band’s name relentlessly, prompting Jericho to tell the audience that “Irish crowds are crazier, louder and sexier than anywhere else in the world.”
“But,” he added, “we played the first gig of our tour in Cork last night, and Cork said that they were louder than any other place in Ireland, including you guys in Dublin.” This was met with a round of booing as Fozzy tore into the appropriately named Let The Madness Begin.
When the band retreated from the stage for the encore break, the crowd started singing “Fozz-ay, Fozz-ay, Fozz-ay” (in the tune of the football chant “Ole, Ole, Ole”). When Jericho came back on stage he looked a little stunned. “You guys just officially kicked Cork’s ass,” he said, before launching into Enemy while leaping madly about the stage. At the end of the song Jericho seemed to slink back from his mic stand, before creeping closer once again, each step closer causing the crowd to scream and cry and clap a little bit louder. Whatever else anybody says about Chris Jericho, he knows how to work an audience. After what seemed like an age he once more approached the mic stand, give the crowd a playfully theatrical look, and launched into Fozzy’s last song Blood Happens.
It was an incredible performance, and if Fozzy are slightly lacking in musical variation, they more than make up for it with an explosive stage presence. If anybody was ever thinking about singing in a band, they could certainly learn a few things from watching a Fozzy show.