Fozzy - LIVE: Islington Academy, London 2015

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Cinder Block Party World Tour
November 26 (21:30 - 22:45)
Capacity 800

It seems Fozzy can't play the UK enough, for both band and fans. They've already been through on their Cinder Block Party World Tour once, back in March, but it wasn't long after that leg concluded that they scheduled another one, with no apparent effect on attendance either.

In the energy stakes, Fozzy don't normally have a lot of competition. It's often only the size of a stage that bounds Chris Jericho and Rich Ward, and their support don't tend to offer much of a challenge. But Nonpoint are on this tour. The Floridians are never short of energy themselves, especially front-man Elias Soriano, and with only 40 minutes at their disposal, they poured all of it in, tearing through nine songs at what seemed like a break-neck speed, even managing to squeeze in F**K'D, which was left out on most nights.

The other difference Nonpoint's presence made on this tour compared to the March one is that Fozzy now win the most embarrassing cover song contest. Their version of Abba's SOS, which shows so much potential on the verses only to be destroyed by a juxtaposed chorus, is regrettably still in the set, and it would beat most cover versions out there in the embarrassment race, but back in March they were beaten badly every night by a version of Killing In The Name from The Dirty Youth that was so bad, Jericho could have sung the The Horst Wessel Song acapella and everyone would still have preferred it. On this leg they're up against Nonpoint's Phil Collins staple In The Air Tonight, and while that isn't the best that song has ever sounded either, it's massively superior to Fozzy's SOS.

Fozzy themselves haven't really changed much since last time, but are on fire nevertheless. There's no Corey Lowery on bass now due to his commitments with Saint Asonia opening shows for Mötley Crüe, so Randy Drake has stepped in, and the setlist this time is only a marginal improvement on last time. They've finally added one of the covers from their first two albums besides Eat The Rich back into the set, choosing Judas Priest's Freewheel Burning (some shows have also had Blackout), but at the expense of To Kill A Stranger, one of only three originals from before the most recent two albums to get a spot (it was instead relegated to one of two candidates in a fan vote on Facebook, which on this night it lost to Inside My Head).

The benefit of playing in a venue with good acoustics though (something they weren't able to guarantee on the last tour) is that the songs from Do You Wanna Start A War, the most recent album, sound much better and much heavier live than on record. She's My Addiction and Bad Tattoo in particular sound very meaty live, while One Crazed Anarchist just becomes more brutal. The Islington Academy stage is also big enough for Jericho and Ward to move around properly, so the crowd were treated to a lot of trademark kicks and whirls from Ward, who's guitar solo spots are also getting better and better, while Jericho prowled the front of the stage like a true heavy metal front-man.

This was Fozzy at the peak of their form, as lively and engaging as ever, but next time, once the new album is done, the setlist needs a serious shake-up.

“ much heavier live than on record ”

Nonpoint setlist: Victim / What A Day / Pins And Needles / Hands Off / The Truth / Breaking Skin / In The Air Tonight / F**K'D / Bullet With A Name

Fozzy setlist: Do You Wanna Start A War / Tonight / Freewheel Burning / One Crazed Anarchist / Sin And Bones / She's My Addiction / God Pounds His Nails / Inside My Head / Spider In My Mouth / SOS / Lights Go Out / Enemy / Bad Tattoo // Sandpaper / Eat The Rich

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2015, Gigs, Heavy Metal,

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