Fozzy And Raven Hit The Stage In Springfield, Virginia
I recently made my first trip to the United States, for which I decided that catching a metal show was mandatory. The best option was by far a trip to the Empire in Springfield, Virginia, where Fozzy were headlining on May 5th, a show sweetened immensely by the addition of New Wave of British Heavy Metal legends Raven performing as special guests. The venue itself is quite impressive, it's got a nice lounge area before heading into the main venue itself, which is plenty spacious but still relatively compact, perfect for up and coming metal acts as well as those with a cult following.
Unfortunately, the show was far from sold out but there was still a decent sized crowd in attendance for the festivities on hand, which began with a local outfit called Shotgun Sugar, who were exclusively a covers band, performing songs by AC/DC, Journey and the like. They served their purpose as a warm up act before Newcastle nutters Raven took to the stage.
Raven are known for their energetic live performances and influential, hectic sound, something I am pleased to say they still possess in abundance. They kicked things off with the "All For One" opener, "Take Control," which immediately caught the crowd's attention. From then on, it was classic after classic, with songs such as "Live at the Inferno" and "Hard Ride" being thrown to the audience at full speed, as well as the title track from their 1981 debut album, "Rock Until You Drop," which had been slowed down for a more anthem like vibe. The interaction between the Gallagher brothers is still great and Raven put on a proper, old school heavy metal show with plenty of crowd banter, posing and a mid-set guitar solo. They finished their forty minute set with the hit, "On and On" from the 1985 album, "Stay Hard," much to the delight of fans in attendance. Of course, there'll always be a few songs which would have been great to hear such as "Don't Need Your Money" and "Crash, Bang, Wallop" but Raven's catalogue is strong enough that even if some favourites aren't busted out, you're guaranteed great music and a great time.
Up next were the evening's headliners, Fozzy, whose chief members, as most people know, contain Stuck Mojo founder, Rich Ward and professional wrestler, Chris Jericho. I was a huge Fozzy fan back in school and was looking forward to seeing them live for the first time in eight years, but I was slightly disappointed to see that their live show has changed a little in that time. They opened with their new single, "Lights Go Out," which is a good, catchy rock song and followed it with the excellent, "To Kill a Stranger" from their 2002 sophomore effort, "Happenstance."
Unfortunately for old school Fozzy fans, this would be one of two tastes of old material they gave the crowd, as the set focused primarily on their latest album, "Sin and Bones." Indeed, only two songs from the 2010 album, "Chasing the Grail" were brought out, in the forms of the anthemic, "Martyr No More" and "God Pounds His Nails," which is a shame because the album, like the three before it, contains some other excellent tunes. The two softer songs from "Sin and Bones," "She's My Addiction" and "Inside My Head" were performed, which were fine but only one was necessary, with "Inside My Head" perhaps performed too early in the set to have the effect desired. Fozzy did perform a cover of the Krokus staple, "Eat the Rich," before briefly retreating backstage, after which they came back to bring out, "Enemy," which was great to hear but it's a shame this was the only song from "All That Remains" which was aired on the night, followed by closing with the title track from "Sin and Bones."
Although they're still a fun live band and Chris Jericho is still a funny frontman, the interaction I'd seen between the band and the fans appears to have gone somewhat from the shows I saw as a teenager, which felt like a party as much as it did a rock concert. The banter from Jericho didn't really surface until mid-way through the set, which took away something which drew me to Fozzy in the first place. The band has a new album, "Do You Wanna Start A War?" coming out later this year, which going by "Lights Go Out" sounds promising, but my advice to the band would be to mix the setlist up for the future and bring the fun and games back as it's what made them such a fantastic live act.
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.
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