Suddenly swallowed in darkness, a chillingly perverse childlike voice recites an altered version of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” as a foggy haze fills the air and you get the feeling you have when you are in some wickedly bizarre dream or even that of the nightmare you had as a child that you could not wake up from. Then, like unexpected lightning in a midnight sky, the lights pulsated bright and the accompanying booming thunder was provided by opening song “Spider In My Mouth” as Fozzy took the McGuffy’s stage.
Fozzy, along with Atlanta’s Halcyon Way and heavy metal legends Saxon, brought the Sacrifice and Sin tour to Dayton, Ohio. Fronted by Chris Jericho, this was Fozzy’s first trip to Dayton and Saxon’s first since 1984. Fozzy was formed in 1999 as Fozzy Osbourne by Jericho and guitarist Rich Ward, who provided exceptional cover songs of some of the best metal songs in history. As time went by Osbourne was dropped from the band name and original work began to be recorded culminating in the bands most recent (2012), and arguably best, album Sin and Bones.
Jericho, with his charismatic swagger, is the perfect front man for a heavy metal band. While most know him from his professional wrestling days, Jericho is also an author, commentator on many VH1 shows, Dancing With The Stars alumnus and he is also an exceptional singer. Jericho appeared larger than life as he hopped atop his raised stage platform and belted out his vocals, coming off as a combination of the late great “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Axl Rose. Working the stage from left to right, drum riser to his raised platform front and center, Jericho was nothing but infectious energy as he worked the crowd. Ward provided more coarse backing vocals that complimented Jericho’s melody perfectly as well as playing guitar and Frank Fontsere pounded away on the drums so heavily I was surprised they were still standing at the end of the show . Left handed bassist Paul DiLeo played his bass like a lead guitarist and at times I felt I was watching Ace Frehley in some of his moves (one of which I was happy to capture in a photo as it reminded me of KISS’s ALIVE album cover). Billy Grey, also on guitar, provided some spectacular solos.
No longer just a band with a celebrity singer, Fozzy are now rightfully being accepted as a great heavy metal band. Putting on a headlining worthy performance, Fozzy provided heavy, melodic groove metal that is something of a nod back to a classic heavy metal sound while providing the harder rhythms of bands such as Pantera and Black Label Society . Along with the above opening number, the set list contained “Sandpaper,” “She’s My Addiction,” “God Pounds His Nails” (an excellent audience participation number with the “hey, hey, hey” and “1, 2, 3” shouts), “Shine Forever,” “Sin and Bones,” “Enemy and Blood Happens.” This band gave their all and blew away those in attendance leaving them wanting more.