Fozzy / Hardcore Superstar / Madame Mayhem / The Last Band – Limelight 2, Belfast – 29th October 2017
Review & Photography By Marc Leach
‘Halloween is coming and the goose is getting fat…’ yada yada yada. Yes folks, it’s Halloween weekend, where darkness reigns supreme over the Earth. Well, figuratively speaking it does. So over the Hallowed weekend, the kids were out trick or treating (early because there’s not school night) while the adults were out enjoying plenty of music courtesy of The Distortion Project and none other than Fozzy and Hardcore Superstar teamed up to treat the people of Belfast to a massive return from both of them.
First band of the night was The Last Band… I know, confusing right? Having made their Belfast debut with Avatar last year, these hallions from Sweden were back to raise some more hell, especially with the fact that they were thankful for people coming out to a gig on a Sunday. Most opening bands were seem quite nervous at first but this was not the case for The Last Band as they led the audience to war with earth shaking tracks like ‘So What, I Don’t Give A Fuck’ and a sensational rendition of ‘Bulls On Parade’ that almost made it seem like Rage Against The Machine were on stage.
While three out of the four bands who were performing had been to Belfast before, this was a first for Madame Mayhem who were both mayhem by name and mayhem by nature. Led by the Manhattan born Madame herself, the band exploded onto the petit Limelight 2 stage with their Paramore on steroids brand of music. Madame was a natural born performer with an outstanding set of pipes and obscure stage antics who immediately connected with the fresh audience; suppose offering free shit for people who pre-ordered her album helps.
As the venue began to burst at the seems it was time for one of, if not, THE band most people were eagerly waiting to see; Hardcore Superstar. Four years ago this Swedish sensation completely dominated and blew Buckcherry out of the water in the bigger venue next year, so of course what was on everyone’s minds was, were they going to do the same with Fozzy tonight? Well you could have almost said yes because the Belfast crowd just made the band feel at home through an explosive chant of the band’s name before, during and after their set. So much so that it delayed the band from performing as lead man Jocke Berg just soaked it all in while asking the band ‘should we move to Belfast?’ Set to release a new album in 2018, the set did consist of some new tracks that may have slightly went over everyone’s heads but it was such classics like the middle finger raising ‘Above The Law,’ ‘Last Call For Alchohol’ and the suitably finale ‘We Don’t Celebrate Sundays’ that made the die hard fans light up as they followed along with the band’s high octane performance. Hardcore Superstar proved once again why they are one of the greatest bands to see live and that they are band that need to do their own headline tour to these lands rather than double teaming with someone else.
A mixture of Fozzy chants and obligatory wrestling chants greeted the one and only Fozzy as one by one they made it to the stage. It was the entrance of front man, WWE superstar and the ayatollah of rock. And. Rolla. Chris ‘Y2J’ Jericho that made everyone go completely ballistic. It was easy to think that the Hardcore Superstar fans were going to leave after their set, this wasn’t the case as the venue was just completely packed out, with the voices being raised for the massive single ‘Judas’ and ‘Drinkin With Jesus’ which kicked started Fozzy’s energetic show. For all you regulars who go to gigs in the Limelight, how often do you get to see smoke pillars and light up jackets used during a gig? Little to none? Okay well how about a crowd chanting ‘Nando’s?’ Well that’s what Fozzy brought as they brought took their previous performance two years ago and kicked it up another notch. Borrowing his wardrobe from the WWE locker room, Jericho brought forth his flashy jacket for the catchy ‘Spider In My Mouth’ that was so bright it could have been used as the band’s full light show. And who could forget the other band members, from guitarist Billy Grey and bassist Paul Di Leo sharing some antics on their side of the stage, to the Duke himself Rich Ward just beaming from ear to ear as he bounced around like a mad man. Oh, the Nando’s thing? Well, Jericho LOVES to go to Nando’s when he is Belfast so of course he just had to mention the one across the street, thus started the chant. Random! Other tracks like ‘Do You Want To Start A War’ to the rambunctious cover of ABBAs ‘SOS’ just proved that Fozzy can put on a rock performance like no other.
My only criticism throughout the night was the sound could have been a little better, especially when it came to the vocal section during Fozzy as it was hard to hear them during their set. That being said there was no real overall winner who performed the best on this night as each band were in top form and brought a collection of A+ performances all around.