Having seen Fozzy twice with my son Alex when they last hit our shores in 2013, we were pretty keen to catch the boys again. Once it was announced they were coming to Australia on the Judas tour, we were there. The band is getting massive recognition with their latest album, which has currently had three US Hard Rock top ten singles. This is a band on fire.
Entry to the Manning Bar is an easy affair and we rock in a couple of songs into local Sydney Band, Molly & The Krells who are putting on a top notch set, warming up the patrons already inside with a high energy, up tempo, punky sound the guys get all the punters rocking along.
As the crowd continues to build, we are entertained by a highly enthusiastic set from Kvlts Of Vice. The guys are tight and as a frontman, Jordan Von Grae really commands the stage with great presence. These boys really get some great crowd interaction, then even more with a good cover of The Animals‘ House of The Rising Sun. The crowd take them so much to heart they are cheered when they come back out onto the floor after their set. By now crowd numbers have reached their zenith and everyone is here for the headline that is Fozzy.
I had the pleasure of interviewing both Rich “The Duke” Ward and Chris Jericho over the past year. In the interview with Jericho I asked him what we can expect when Fozzy comes to Australia. His response was one hell of a Rock & Roll Show from a band that should be firing on all cylinders by the time they get here.
Jericho was right, from the minute they hit the stage and opening with Judas, the band had the crowd in raptures. Everyone was on fire tonight, Billy Grey was a powerhouse running around stage like an energizer bunny, Frank Fontsere pounding the drums and driving the songs along beautifully. Randy Drake, filling in for Paul Di Leo on bass didn’t miss a beat, Jericho the ultimate frontman and Rich Ward was just amazing, he is one of the most consummate performers. He ended up on the night having some particularly close interaction with the crowd during his solo for Enemy (of which I did manage to grab a pic).
The crowd was going wild from the get go and were like that for the whole of the set. All the band had big ass smiles on their face all set long, I love to see a band enjoying themselves on stage and these guys were having a ball.
Fozzy played for around one and a half hours. The guys were tight, playing all the hits from most albums. All songs went down a treat and the setlist was paced nicely. People really didn’t get time to come up for air during the sonic assault, only getting breath when Jericho was talking. The crowd was very loud, proud and right into their participation. They were all bouncing, headbanging and even a mosh pit formed with the heavy and fast Wolves at Bay.
Jericho certainly knows how to play a crowd with his background and he was playing the Manning Bar crowd to perfection. Perfect pauses in the proceedings had the crowds chanting all sorts of things back to the band, one that Jericho said hadn’t been heard in five long years was “Fozzy, Fozzy, Fozzy.. Oi, Oi, Oi.” Only in Australia… The band were genuinely happy with the way the crowd fed off them all night and that they had ended up with a decent crowd when you consider it was a direct clash with the Def Leppard concert which happened to be mentioned. This led to the raucous crowd spontaneously starting to chant back to the band “Fuck Def Leppard”.
Towards the end of the set they even included a cover from a well-known Australian band beginning with A. Everyone was chanting AC/DC but Jericho cracked us all up by saying “Yep, you got it. Air Supply…” They then broke into a damn good rendition of TNT. Finally to finish the night, they did the Fozzy version of going offstage before the encore song – Jericho draped a towel over his head while the crowd made enough noise to pretend the band had left the stage. He finally flipped off the towel and finished off the night with Sandpaper.
Fozzy certainly do know how to rock, they are right up there with some of the bigger bands around in putting on a show. They have a great sound, great vibe and everyone there is having a great time. Certainly tonight, I don’t think there would have been a single soul leave the venue unhappy. Fozzy have got it in spades, and if you get to catch them before they leave our fair shores then you’re in for a hell of a show.