I’ll be honest: I wasn’t particularly expecting to enjoy Fozzy. I’m not a huge metal fan, and a metal band fronted by a pro wrestler seemed like the kind of thing that would push my limits. Despite this, I maintained an open mind when I went to see them at Galatos, and I’m glad I did.
Opening the show was NZ band Checaine, who wasted no time launching into their set with Down The Line. Despite a relatively unresponsive crowd and cramped stage space, Fraser Coombes (vocals) maintained strong energy and stage presence, and didn’t hit a wrong note once. In Symbols, a highlight of the set, Regan Aspden (guitar) looped a melodic line which the band played to smoothly, showcasing their solidarity as a group. Drummer Pete Westbury was a star, with some very impressive technical fills that were creative and tasteful. Unfortunately, as is often the case with the opening act, there were sound issues, including some sharp jolts of feedback and some murky tones which mostly affected bassist and backing vocalist Chris Prenter, which was a shame. Despite these issues, Checaine played a great set, and they obviously enjoyed themselves on stage. Props to them for travelling from Hamilton as well.
By the time locals Coridian took the stage, the audience had filled out a little more, although the crowd was still not as responsive as I was expecting them to be. This didn’t stop Coridian from bringing their A game to the stage. Brothers Kris Raven (drums), Mike Raven (guitar) and Nick Raven (bass) were lead by vocalist Dity Maharaj, and for me, they were the highlight of the night. Their melodic alt-rock metal style was a nice contrast to the more straight edge pure hard-rock metal of the other two acts. Maharaj is a natural performer, relaxingly engaging in cheeky banter with the crowd in between songs and completely carrying the energy as he launched around the stage whilst singing very demanding melodies flawlessly. The brothers Raven are a testament to the power of musical siblings, locked in synch together perfectly and all displaying great skills in their instruments. The only issue I had was the snare drum that sounded rather strange... perhaps due to the mixing so it didn’t pack as much punch as I felt it should have... but that’s a minor gripe with an otherwise very impressive performance.
After Coridian left the stage, disco tunes that included Blondie’s Call Me and ABBA’s Dancing Queen filled the venue and metal-heads all got their groove on. Finally, at 9:45, the lights went out, and the vocals of Black Sabbath’s War Pigs played over a low droning guitar. Out ran Rich Ward (lead guitar), Frank Fontsere (drums), Billy Grey (rhythm guitar), and Paul Di Leo (bass), before the lights went up and they were joined by frontman Chris Jericho, in sparkling attire.
Fozzy kicked off with Judas, and the crowd went wild, finally bringing the energy I’d hoped they would bring for the prior two acts. From there they launched straight into Drinkin’ With Jesus, and there’s something to be said about a room full of people shouting “Fucked up, I’m drinkin’ with Jesus!” I expected high energy from Jericho given his background in the wrestling ring, and the rest of the band managed to match his energy and showmanship as well, and man, were they having a blast.
In between each song, without fail, the crowd chanted “Fozzy! Fozzy! Fozzy!” to the obvious glee of Jericho and his bandmates. During Burn Me Out, one of the best songs of the set, a couple of young dudes somewhat hesitantly jumped up on stage and Jericho welcomed and encouraged them, and several more followed, which resulted in an onstage mosh that, despite the close-quarters, seemed to have both the band and the fans stoked. Afterwards, Jericho commented that the band was unsure about venturing to New Zealand for the first time, but now that they had arrived to such a crazy crowd, wondered “what the fuck took us so long!”
Much to the satisfaction of the crowd, the intro to Spider In My Mouth saw the lights go out while Jericho donned a sparkling silver jacket with multi-coloured lights on it. Jericho’s larger than life persona may be the result of his WWE experience, but as cheesy and over-the-top as it was, he delivered it with charisma, and even with all the theatrics and posing, the band genuinely loved every minute of the show.
Fozzy were tight and entertaining, and the only real issue that hindered them was a sound issue with Jericho’s vocals... which saw him being overpowered by the backing vocals of his bandmates during at least half of their songs. They playfully covered ABBA’s SOS and AC/DC’s TNT, and their own song Lights Go Out saw the crowd bringing exceptionally high energy.
After some quality banter from Jericho about encores, the band closed with the popular Sandpaper, and Jericho bid the crowd farewell with his wrestling catchphrase “New Zealand… you just made the list!”, to thunderous applause.
So yes, Fozzy was theatrical, over-the-top, macho metal that conformed to some pretty cliche rock ‘n’ roll tropes - but honestly? That’s the product, and they sold it well, because I’ll be damned if that wasn’t a thoroughly entertaining show.
- Drinkin’ With Jesus
- One Crazed Anarchist
- Sin and Bones
- Burn Me Out
- Spider in My Mouth
- Do You Wanna Start a War
- SOS - ABBA cover
- Lights Go Out
- Wolves at Bay
- TNT - AC/DC cover
- Better Off
- Good, For Nothing
- Seed Pt.2
- Down The Line
- Sleep With The Enemy
- The Division
- Full Circle
- Bring me down