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Gig Review : Fozzy brings Wrestlemania metal to Belfast

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Review by Ivor Whitten for MPM

As people are still getting used to gathering together again at venues, some may understandably still be a bit nervous. It would maybe take something special to bring them out to a venue like the Limelight, Belfast.

And on this Friday night there could be no argument at all that this was one of those special events. The quality of musicians on show would maybe a bit of a double take due to their styles, but they all blended in beautifully to produce a perfect dish of rock and metal.

The ingredients for this special sold out event? Stitched up Heart, The Treatment and Fozzy.

First up on the menu was Los Angles based metallers, Stitched Up Heart. From the very moment they took to the stage they had everyone’s attention. They perfectly blended a vibe of Gothic hard rock with a metal tinge. Lead singer Alecia ‘Mixi’ Demner has such a powerful, angelic voice that captivates you all the while the hard rock metal groove grabs you and won’t let you go.

Powering through songs like ‘Warrior’, ‘Lost’ and ‘My Demon’ it was like watching the Lady Gaga of the metal world. The riffs and grooves powering of the stage were tight, thumping and magical.

This was incredible headbanging music and it was only underlined as Alecia and her band mates should everyone how to do it right. They owned the stage. There is no other way to describe it. Alecia also showed off she could play guitar as well as she wielded that axe for ‘Catch Me When I Fall’.

Next up were hard rock veterans, The Treatment. While some may try to dismiss them out of hand due to their early albums and performances, they cannot be ignored as their last two albums are just phenomenal hard rock blues.

In 2019, they demolished any doubts about their credentials with their album ‘Power Crazy’ and then proved it wasn’t a fluke with their 2021 offering ‘Waiting for Good Luck’.

And tonight, they also proved they could deliver that energy live. Moving, swinging and galivanting all over the stage this is one tight rock band that will infect your very core with pure hard rock blues joy. With power infused tracks like ‘Runaway train’, ‘Shake the Mountain’, ‘Wrong Way’ and ‘Rat Race’ they delivered a performance that just made the crowd go wild as the horns went up and the heads went down in time with the beat.

Tom Rampton fronts the group like a well-practiced performer of the magical metal arts, in perfect sync with the packed metallers in front of him. Their antics on stage only stoked the fires of blues infused rock and roll in everyone witnessing this fantastic performance.

The packed Limelight unleashed a wild unrestrained roar and enthusiastically rocked out when The Treatment dropped ‘Lets Get Dirty’ in the middle of their set. By the end, they left a room full of exhausted sweaty metallers with massive smiles on their faces.

Then came the main course for the evening. Fozzy walked onto the stage, naturally owning every inch of space and the welcoming roar was Deafening. The ring was set and the bell was rung once the first drum was hit and guitar string struck.

The crowd went wild as Fozzy dropped tunes like ‘Sane’, ‘Drinkin’ With Jesus’, ‘Painless’, and ‘Nowhere to run’. Each one delivered with absolute pure confidence and were professionally entertaining. Lead singer Chris Jericho knew his craft well, knowing when to turn his attention to the audience with perfect timing.

In between tracks, there were no awkward silences, or even the need for Fozzy to encourage the metallers in front of him, the crowd would immediately just start chanting ‘Fozzy’ over and over until the next song began. The atmosphere was utterly infectious. It was a great cross over too, as many attendees were, many for their first rock gig, because of Fozzy’s other job – that of professional wrestling. Indeed he has been noted by his peers as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time.

And boy, did he have a stage presence! There was no ignoring him as he filled the room with his smiling, jokey, devil may care attitude and wherever he looked the crowd roared all the louder in that direction.

On the tunes came, with a heavy, hard and fast rhythm that gave all there one of the best workouts they will have ever had.

On Fozzy went with no quarter given or taken with ‘Do You Wanna Start a War’ and ‘Lights Go Out’ before they belted out a cover of Frankie goes to Hollywood’s ‘Relax’ and what a belter it was. Covers, especially those of different genres can always be difficult to pull off, but Chris Jericho’s larger than life presence and the perfectly timed teamwork in Fozzy delivered that well known pop tune with aplomb. Then came ‘Sin and Bones’, ‘The Vulture Club’, ‘Burn Me Out’, and ‘Purifier’ before finishing the main set with ‘Enemy’.

The audience was exhausted by this point but found that full second wind as Fozzy gave everyone an early Christmas present with an encore of ‘Judas’ and AC/DC cover ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’. People’s throats must have been raw by now as you could hear the effort put into singing along with ‘Dirty Deeds’. It was almost euphoric. And that should have been that. The crowd rocked the roof with the call for ‘one more song’ over and over. It doesn’t always work but this time Fozzy took the bait and delivered a blistering rendition of Krokus’s ‘Eat the Rich’.

So, as you may by now have guessed, the overall evening was a perfect blend of three incredible bands that more than delivered blistering, high octane performances that will be talked about for a long time yet. If you left this gig without a smile on your face and your heart filled with pleasure, you can only be termed as clinically dead. A perfect night of rock and metal that would taste sweet on any palette.

They are still on tour and you owe it to yourself to buy your ticket and enjoy the experience of Stitched Up Heart, The Treatment and Fozzy. Unmissable.

Photography by Darren Mcveigh for MPM

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