GIG REVIEW: Fozzy, Hardcore Superstar, Madame Mayhem & The Last Band Live at the O2 Academy, Islington, London
This is a show I’d been waiting for since its’ announcement months ago- Fozzy, featuring WWE wrestling superstar Chris Jericho and members of Stuck Mojo and sleaze rockers Hardcore Superstar co-headlining a European tour! Upon arrival at London’s Islington O2 Academy metalheads queued in an orderly fashion donning Fozzy and HCSS t-shirts. Joining these two exclusive rock bands are The Last Band and Madame Mayhem as support acts
Hard rock punk band hailed from Gothenburg The Last Band kicked it all off that night. It was the first time seeing them live. I was totally blown away by their explosive live show full of aggression, sweat and ear pounding sound. Singer Chris Blood aka Coffe Blood kept up crowd interaction and was on top form vocally belting out the screams while jumping around on stage flashing his ink encased body. The rest of the band was super energised, which added beautifully to the energy that Blood threw out. They played exceptionally well during their short 30-minute punchy set, but to a small audience. I’m putting this down the early 6:30pm stage time. They definitely deserved a larger crowd, however for those who were their certainly appreciated the band.
Next up was Madame Mayhem and her band who gave us a dose of alternative hard rock, hitting combinations of riffs, melodies and changeups. Her performance was flawless and her vocal range was rocket high. After the super charged set by The Last Band the momentum was broken by this band’s slower musical style. The crowd was not fully engaged as you’d expect, but courteous and respectful.
As the venue quickly filled during the last set the crowd was pumped as they awaited their hard rock fix by Hardcore Superstar’s appearance chanting “hardcore, hardcore.” As the lights dimmed the stage filled with red lighting, the Swedish four-piece entered the stage to the backing track “This Worm’s for Ennio” going full throttle into “Beg For It” to the loud cheering crowd. Four songs in and the energy was relentless, full of front row headbangers and moshers. Singer Jocke Berg hit every note perfectly. Jumping and hopping around stage, for a moment I thought the brittle flooring of the stage might not be able to handle anymore rock ‘n’ roll! The marvellous frontman knew exactly how to work the crowd and achieve his intended result by telling everyone to raise their arms up high and immediately breaking straight into “Touch the Sky” that turned into a mass sing-along. Guitarist Vic Zino offered tasteful solos, memorable riffs and licks as well as saliva showers for the lucky front row viewers. The energetic set continued with fan favourites “Last Call for Alcohol” as well as the latest offering “Have Mercy on Me” which had the crowd singing along like it was a classic. The set closed with what might just be their biggest hit “We Don’t Celebrate Sundays” with Berg showed immense affection for the London crowd saying “we love you London” and I say “London loves YOU.”
‘Foz-zy, Foz-zy, Foz-zy’ filled the air as the crowd ferociously chanted in anticipation. The American five-piece heavy metal band Fozzy entered the room one by one to a remix of “War Pigs.” The leather and stud clad frontman Chris Jericho treated the stage as a WWE championship moonlighting as a wrestler. The band had the crowd in a choke-hold of hard rock and metal from the onset with the first song “Judas” saw the first of many mass sing-alongs. Jericho’s larger than life stage personality had everyone fixated and frenzied as the crowd surged to the front to attempt to touch his bulking biceps. During “Sins and Bones” the playful yet professional rapport was apparent with bass player Paul Di Leo larking around as he threw out booming bass lines and provided mesmerising backing vocals. Drummer Frank Fontsere provided a pounding energetic performance with fat beats and stamping rhythm-sent shock waves all the way up to the balcony in “Painless” taken from their latest album ‘Judas’ (2017.) Jericho has a talent for crowd enchantment as they chanted “fozzy” in between every pause and as he brandished a pyro machine gun for “Do You Want to Start a War” the response was pure hysteria! And just when you thought it can’t get any better he glided back on stage wearing the famous LED lights jacket for “Lights Go Out.” These guys delivered a winning performance even with “SOS” (Abba cover). The blistering set created excitement and provided pure entertainment to metal fans of all ages.
Overall, the performances all packed a punch, full of energy and exactly what we needed on a school night. The screaming vocals and guitars by The Last Band will definitely see these boys continually flourish globally. Madame Mayhem put on a decent performance to an ample crowd. Hardcore Superstar set the bar high with their killer set and I didn’t think the crowd could get any better fearing that they may have stolen the show. I was wrong! It was clearly apparent how crazy the fans were when headliner’s Fozzy took to stage which was the only time the mosh pit opened up. Catch these bands in a town near you as they continue with the European tour!