What a busy hump day it was for everyone in Belfast, especially for us at Rock ’N’ Load. From Nile in the Limelight 2 to Biffy Clyro in the SSE Arena. But for this reviewer, all the attention was on the return of the one and only; Fozzy! As they brought their biggest UK and Ireland tour to date, to the historic Ulster Hall.
Kicking off the night’s proceedings were the Scarlet Rebels, hailing from Llanelli, Wales. I couldn’t tell who was soaking in the history of the Ulster Hall stage more, frontman Wayne Doyle or their sheep mascot – sitting proudly on their amps. While the crowd numbers were small and the band were a band member down, they still put on an enjoyable set full of hard rock action.
It was hard to tell who the Belfast crowd were more excited for, the headline act or the main support. But as the room began to fill out more it was time for post-hardcore sensations; Escape the Fate. Safe to say, the audience went berserk to see the band return after nearly 4 years! And Escape the Fate very much fed off the energy of the room. Minus the odd sound hiccups that plagued their set, these rowdy lads put on a set like no other. Playing such crowd screamers like ‘Ashley’ and ‘One for the Money’ that no doubt left many of throats sore. Plenty of bants were had along the way, especially with a joyous sing-along to Queen’s ‘We Are the Champions’ to round off their set.
As Smokie’s ‘Living Next Door to Alice’ finished playing over the PA, it was the moment everyone had been waiting for. The one and only Fozzy. And even though they were only here a year before, they were more than happy to be back. Bigger and better than ever! And the second they took to the iconic stage it was party time, as they ploughed through tracks off their 2022 release: Boombox.
Not only was this Fozzy’s biggest Belfast show to date, but the night was extra special as it was head honcho Chris Jericho’s 52nd birthday! It was awesome to see both music and wrestling fans come together to wish Le Champion himself a happy birthday, as the band’s road crew rolled out a huge Fozzy cake. I have never seen a birthday cake eaten with a red beer cup, but Jericho pulled it off while sharing some elite (see what I did there) antics along the way.
With Boombox taking over the majority of the set, Fozzy performed such crowd pleasers like ‘Spider in My Mouth’ and the humongous hit ‘Judas.’ But along the way they had some fun by performing a couple of covers, including ‘Relax’by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Only with the message, FOZZY SAYS RELAX written across their background screens. How both guitarists Rich Ward and Billy Grey have all that energy I have no idea, but they very much enjoyed the extra running about the room.
There is one thing that can be said about a Fozzy gig in Belfast, and it’s always one you will never forget. And despite the number of gig clashes on the night, it was amazing to finally see the band perform on a much larger stage. Where they belong!
Photography & Review: Marc Leach
Announce Vinyl Release of BOOMBOX
UK Release – 11 November
Europe Release – 25 November
Via Mascot Records / Mascot Label Group (ex-NA)
UK & Ireland Tour Starts Next Week
Fri 04 Nov – Manchester, England – O2 New Century Hall
Sat 05 Nov – Birmingham, England – O2 Institute
Sun 06 Nov – Nottingham, England – Rock City
Tues 08 Nov – Dublin, Ireland – National Stadium
Weds 09 Nov – Belfast, N Ireland – Ulster Hall
Thurs 10 Nov – Swansea, Wales – Patti Pavilion
Fri 11 Nov – Bournemouth, England – O2 Academy
Sat 12 Nov – Bristol, England – O2 Academy
Sun 13 Nov – Glasgow, Scotland – SWG3
Mon 14 Nov – London, England – O2 Forum
Tickets available from fozzyrock.com
“Hits like a forearm smash.” Daily Mirror
“A swathe of catchy-as-hell tunes.” Metal Hammer
“Crunchy riffs and earworm hooks” Classic Rock Magazine
Watch the videos for Sane | I Still Burn | Nowhere To Run
Chris Jericho – Lead Vocals
Rich Ward – Guitar, Vocals
Billy Grey – Guitar
PJ Farley – Bass
Grant Brooks – Drums