There was a moment of nostalgia as I walked back into the student union (now the O2 Academy) at Leicester University for the first time in almost 15 years, not a lot had changed although everything was new! Tonight’s entertainment would come in the form of US rockers Fozzy, fronted by WWE Superstar Chris Jericho alongside Rich Ward, Sean Delson, Frank Fontsere, of Stuck Mojo fame, and Billy Grey. Not only were we to be treated to the onslaught of Fozzy but they were joined by the supporting cast of Symphony Cult, DVP and Cambion.
The crowd was a healthy size, not capacity but they made plenty of noise, there was of course the expected cacophony of wrestler’s names and chants roared by them. Yes, Chris Jericho is a wrestling superstar but tonight the show is all about the music and to be honest the music is pretty damn good!
First up were Exeter’s Cambion, launching straight into their set. The four-piece screamo metallers came across sound wise as a cross between Bullet For My Valentine and Trivium but with the added variety of melodic vocal harmonies between front-man Elliott Alderman-Broom and bassist Helen Tytherleigh. They played a number of tracks from the debut “Cambion EP” to the small but growing crowd early in the evening and for sure picked up some new fans along the way!
Second on the bill were Peterborough favourites, Death Valley Piledriver (DVP) with their larger than life metal. Front-man Rikki Sieley proclaiming early on that this show was virtually a hometown gig as Peterborough was just down the road! These guys seriously know how to rock, tracks such as ‘Proof’ and ‘End of Days’ set the crowd off helped in no small part by guitarist Ross unleashing some serious shred on his Dimebag-esque Dean guitar. As with Cambion earlier DVP left the stage with many more fans than they entered with and I count myself among them!
Main support came in the shape of metallers Symphony Cult; their sound can be described as a mix of Alice in Chains, Lacuna Coil and the raw power of Skunk Anansie. A confident, tight performance warmed up the ever growing crowd. Lead singer Charlotte Lubbock enchanting them with not just her stunning good looks but with a faultless vocal performance, ably backed up by John Lovell on guitar and backing vocals. Tracks such as ‘This Devastation’ and ‘Goodbye and Goodnight’ really seemed to get the fans going, whipping them up for the main event!
Symphony Cult ended their set to a deserved ovation as the house lights became a touch brighter, a chance for the many to grab a drink or answer the call of nature. Slowly but surely they returned to the front and the chanting began, every wrestlers’ name under the sun was shouted or chanted at some point during the break, finally the house lights dimmed and the familiar beats of the Queen classic ‘We Will Rock You’ blasted from the PA. The band emerged through the gloom, picked up their instruments and began the opening notes of ‘Under Blackened Skies’ as Chris Jericho bounded onto the stage and lunched head fist into the song. ‘Martyr No More’ and ‘Grail’ followed swiftly after, the show now in full swing with Jericho racing from side to side of the stage and Rich Ward pulling those faces that only he can!
A brief moment of banter between Jericho and the crowd ensues before ‘Wanderlust’ begins followed by ‘Eat the Rich’. A quick lesson in pronunciation was the precursor to ‘Paraskavedekatriaphobia (Friday the 13th)’, easier typed than said! Jericho now feels the heat and removes his leather jackets revealing the trademark biceps and perhaps the hint of a tour belly? Back to the music with ‘Crucify Yourself’ quickly followed by ‘God Pounds His Nails’ and ‘Let the Madness Begin’, before more banter from the crowd and this time ‘The Duke’, Rich Ward, singing “The Duke, The Duke, The Duke is on fire…” which led nicely into the final track of the regular set ‘Freewheel Burning’.
With barely enough time passed to send a tweet Fozzy are back on stage and blasting through ‘Whitechapel 1888’ for their first encore offering. The second encore is the classic ‘To Kill a Stranger’ before the final bit of banter between Jericho and the crowd, asking them what they wanted to hear next? Not surprisingly they were all shouting ‘Enemy’ and as if by magic the final encore was indeed, ‘Enemy’!
A thoroughly great evening’s entertainment was had by everyone in attendance; from the support bands through to Fozzy each band gave their all as did most of the fans in the pit!