The last time I had the pleasure of seeing Fozzy in concert was nearly five years ago. That seemed like far too long to go without seeing this incredibly entertaining collection of musicians, so I headed out on October 6, grabbing my camera and a roll of $1’s to sate all the tolls on the way to The Queen in Wilmington, DE. And what a venue it is! Originally built in the early 1800s as a hotel, later becoming a theater, then turned into a concert hall, its balcony seating and antiqued molding served as a grand stage for the evening’s hard rock festivities.
After experiencing some delays in my arrival, I relaxed knowing that I’d reached the venue with ten minutes to spare before the first band took stage. Or, so I thought. As I walked through the doors, I heard applause closing out a song which I had mistaken for one being played through the house speakers. Rushing in towards the photo pit to make up for lost time, I was greeted by a set of curly lockes which would receive Marty Friedman’s seal of approval, attacking the guitar strings to produce a truly heavy sound. Under those curls was guitarist and vocalist, Andrew Evans, part of the three-piece known as The Stir. The rest of this collection included bassist, Tanner Hendon, and touring drummer Cheney Brannon (ex-Gary Allan, Collective Soul). While I wasn’t familiar with their music, they were extremely enthusiastic, and performed a killer version of Soundgarden’s “Outshined,” which got the whole crowd moving.
While The Stir were new on my radar, I’d heard of Gemini Syndrome previously, though I’d never had the pleasure of seeing them perform live. Guitarists that leap onto guardrails, basslines and tats that won’t quit, and an unrelenting percussionist with high-flying drum sticks. The Queen is lucky that it has such a high ceiling, else I’m sure there would have been some busted lights. The group’s combination of meaty riffs and soaring melodic choruses, in conjunction with their other antics, resulted in an easily captivated audience, myself included. Following their performance, drummer Brian Steele Medina came down into the photo pit with a stamp and proceeded to mark the arms of fans that so desired to wear the band’s logo, much to the delight of all in the front row.
I’m sure it must have seemed odd to some, as the between-band song which came through the loudspeakers was the Bee Gees hit, “Stayin’ Alive,” but it certainly sat well with a great number of concert goers that night, and I joined in the lip sync sing-along that resulted. Soon, however, the song faded and a modified version of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” poured over the audience, signaling the arrival of the headlining act.
While Fozzy may have begun as a Spinal Tap-inspired platform for cover songs, most notable due to professional wrestler Chris Jericho’s frontman role, it has evolved over the years to a legitimate hard rock band that goes all out to entertain. Jericho’s flair for bravado assures that no one attending is ever bored, while the comradery and motion the rest of the band brings emits a glow of warmth from each song. Light up jackets, a smoke cannon, and mid-song breaks to celebrate fan’s birthdays are just a few of the moments that made the evening memorable (Happy Birthday Momma Foz!). And I’d be remiss to forget the battles that guitarist, Rich Ward, braved that night, winning out over a theremin, but nearly losing to a microphone. We’ll call the latter a tie!
There are other portions of the evening that made this night special to me personally, but I won’t bore you with all that. The important things are this: don’t miss Fozzy if you love entertainment, as their tour will continue later this month in support of the October 13 release of their new album Judas. The other is, can someone please get a “Moongoose!” chant going? I couldn’t convince the people at my show.