Hot on the heels of their brand new release Chasing the Grail, Chris Jericho, Rich 'The Duke' Ward, and the rest of the band known as Fozzy made their way to New York's BB King Blues Club in Times Square for an evening of hard rocking, melodic heavy metal. Also appearing that evening were Razer and ZO2, plus there were plenty of rock celebrities in the house. Sea of Tranquility Publisher was on hand and brings his full concert review.
Though I missed Razer's set, I did arrive on time to catch New York's own Z02, who are a regular on the club circuit in these parts. The trio offer up a mix of gritty hard rock, glam, and metal, somewhat like a strange cross between Aerosmith, Lenny Kravitz, AC/DC, and Motley Crue, and really got the crowd fired up for the evening's festivities. It was pretty apparent that most in attendance were well familiar with ZO2's songs, singing along to the lyrics and having a great time. To everyone's surprise, Anthrax vocalist Joey Belladonna even came out to sing the Rush classic "Tom Sawyer" with the band, which added even more to their already fun set. You had to imagine that something was afoot, as we ran into Joey, Charlie Benante, and Frank Bello earlier in the evening. Anthrax was certainly represented at BB Kings that night!
Though they might have been nothing more than a heavy metal cover act a few years back, with two consecutive albums of all original material now under their belt, Fozzy are a force to be reckoned with and need to be taken seriously. All That Remains was a very strong album, and their latest, Chasing the Grail is dynamite as well. Lead singer Chris Jericho is also a longtime wrestler in the WWE, and his co-hort Rich "The Duke" Ward is one of the most talented and versatile guitar players in metal. Along with the rest of the band, which includes bassist Sean Delson, drummer Frank Fontsere, and guitarist Mike Martin, Fozzy are one hell of a formidable outfit. After an introduction by Eddie Trunk and Don Jameson of VH-1 Classic's "That Metal Show", the band came out and played a great selection of tunes from the two most recent albums, as well as a cover of the Krokus classic "Eat the Rich". Though there were probably only about 300 people in attendance that evening, the guys in Fozzy played as if there were 3000. Newer tracks such as "Under Blackened Skies", "Martyr No More", and "Let the Madness Begin" rock and rock hard, bridging the gap between melodic power metal and gritty Black Label Society styled metallic mayhem. Both Jericho and Ward engaged with the crowd pretty regularly and kept up the jokes, so there was entertainment from all angles. The band's only hit single to this day, the catchy "Enemy", brought out many cheers from the crowd and you could see everyone singing along. Jericho has improved mightily as a vocalist since the band started out, and his experience as a wrestling performer has helped make him a very good frontman. The rest of the the band are no slouches either, especialy Ward and Martin, both of whom are exceptional guitar players who can do it all.
A great moment was seeing legendary Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul walk on stage with shots for the band, which not only got a great reaction from the crowd but from Fozzy as well. Not only was Vinnie and the guys from Anthrax in attendance, but Dream Theater's Mike Portnoy was also on hand, as well as Steve Brown from Trixter, and guitarist Bumblefoot. Those who have been listening to Fozzy for a while now got treated to some great older tunes like "Wanderlust", "Daze of the Week", "Crucify Yourself", and "To Kill a Stranger", and for an encore, Portnoy came out and jammed with the band to a cover of Judas Priest's "Freewheel Burning". All in all, a great night of hard rock and heavy metal, with plenty of celebrities walking around to make it an extra special evening. If you get the chance to see Fozzy live, do yourself a favor and make it happen.
Fozzy set list
1. Under Blackened Skies
2. Martyr No More
3. Crucify Yourself
4. Eat the Rich (Krokus cover)
6. Daze of the Week
7. God Pounds His Nails
8. Let the Madness Begin
9. Feel the Burn
11. Paraskavedekatriaphobia (Friday the 13th)
1. To Kill a Stranger
2. Freewheel Burning (w/Mike Portnoy on drums) (Judas Priest cover)