Keeping the momentum of their 2017 album, Judas, flowing, Fozzy continues their Judas Rising Tour across America in 2018. Arguably one of the coolest Rock-n-Roll bands on the planet, Fozzy’s trip began back on February 28th down in New Orleans, Louisiana, as they delivered an electrifying stage show to cities across the country before wrapping up the run on April 8th.
That in mind, at the tailend of the tour, on Thursday, April 5th, Fozzy – Chris Jericho (vocals), Rich “The Duke” Ward (lead guitar), Billy Grey (rhythm guitar), Frank Fontsere (drums), and Paul Di Leo (bass) – returned to the intimate stage of New York City’s Gramercy Theatre in glorious form. Not surprising, by morning of the show, Fozzy had completely sold out the venue – adding an extra level of hysteria to the event for tri-state area Rock fans who packed into the venue for a fun night of heavy-hitting Rock.
Taking along a list of talented supporting acts, first up on the bill was New Jersey’s Dark Sky Choir. After releasing their eponymous debut album in 2017, Dark Sky Choir endured a lineup change as Vocalist Hollywood How and Bassist Joe Stabile parted ways with the band. Knowing this was merely a bump in the up and down road of Rock, this troop of classic Hard Rock/Heavy Metal veterans carried on by hiring Bassist John Moyer of Disturbed and former Vicious Rumors Vocalist Brian Allen.
Moyer and Allen joined founding members Guitarist Fred Gorhau and Drummer Mike Sakowski to mark a fresh start for the band. Taking over the stage, Dark Sky Choir was the perfect appetizer to kick-off the night. Gifting pleasing Metal cuts like “Death Of A Nation,” “Like It or Not,” “Die Young (Maybe He Wanted To),” “Show No Mercy,” and a stark cover of Rainbow’s “Gates of Babylon,” Dark Sky Choir elated the already wild crowd. Seasoned in Rock, Gorhau’s tasty Metal riffs alongside Allen’s howling vocals and wicked stage presence drew praise for Dark Sky Choir from the packed house.
Before getting into the next band, for those unaware, Finnish Rockers, Santa Cruz, were originally scheduled to play in one of the opening slots on the Judas Rising Tour 2018. The band did play the first two weeks worth of gigs but, unfortunately, due to ongoing issues within the band, Santa Cruz cancelled their remaining performances and the band’s future is up in the air.
With a spot open, Southern California’s Joyous Wolf was awarded the opportunity to take all remaining dates opening for Fozzy. Bringing a Psychedelic Blues/Hard Rock vibe to the show, Joyous Wolf – Vocalist Nick Reese, Bassist Greg Braccio, Guitarist Blake Allard, and Drummer Robert Sodaro – looked to heat-up the sold out crowd with their unbridled energy and signature stage presence. Having made their very first New York City appearance back in October 2017 , these young rockers wowed fans as direct support for Cinderella’s Tom Keifer at B.B. King Blues Club in Times Square.
Now, performing in New York City for the second time in six months, there was much to celebrate for Joyous Wolf, whose star has risen even higher as the band signed to Roadrunner Records on March 5, 2018. A fearless quest to Rock, blissful performances of songs like “Mountain Man” and “Turning Blue” easily earned Joyous Wolf much love from an enthusiastic crowd. Joyous Wolf is on the hunt for Rock glory and it is just a matter of time before the world hears them howl.
Serving as direct support for the evening, Through Fire are a vivacious four piece Hard Rock band hailing from the Cornhusker State of Nebraska. Formed in 2015 by Guitarist/Songwriter Justin McCain and Vocalist Grant Joshua Kendrick, the pair were soon joined by Bassist Kyle LeBlanc and Drummer Grant Brooks to round out Through Fire’s core lineup.
Releasing their first single “Stronger” in early 2016, Through Fire found immediate success as the song went to No. 1 on several digital media sites and was even played during the NHL Stanley Cup Finals. Fame knocking on the door, Through Fire’s debut album, Breathe, debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart once it was released later that year.
With that, Through Fire made an amped-up Gramercy Theater overflow with liveliness thanks to a setlist of potent Rock numbers including “Breakout,” “Where You Lie,” “Breathe,” “Blood On My Hands,” and a cover of Ellie Goulding’s “Lights.” Lastly, Through Fire rose to the occasion as Kendrick conveyed the last song was for anyone who never felt accepted, and as the crowd reacted with cheers, the aforementioned “Stronger” closed out the set in a big way. Still rising, Through Fire certainly set the Gramercy Theatre stage aflame.
Without further ado, the room went dark as the stars of the evening, Fozzy, appeared to the packed crowd who welcomed the Hard Rock warriors by offering massive roars and unhinged adulation. Alive with energy, Fozzy exploded like a ball of fire beginning with the hit single “Judas” followed by the merry “Drinkin With Jesus” to kick-off a crazed set. Leading the crowd in a series of hand claps, Jericho grooved like “One Crazed Anarchist” before the telling “Sin and Bones” shook the earth’s core. Next, performing two more crowd favorites from Judas, Fozzy showed off nothing short of magnetic personality with “Burn Me Out” and utter torment from “Painless.”
Getting into the thick of it, Fozzy commanded the audience with “Spider In My Mouth” and “Do You Wanna Start A War” – an effective soundtrack to the developing mosh pits all around. Following a nostalgic cover of ABBA’s “S.O.S.,” Fozzy lit up New York City via “Lights Go Out.” Then, Fozzy climaxed the night with an extended version of the choice “Enemy” featuring, not one, but two extra Rock delicacies.
First, Ward categorically tore into the crowd with a lengthy guitar solo and then Fozzy gave an utterly refreshing rendition of Michael McDonald’s “I Keep Forgettin’. . “Bad Tattoo” led to a hilarious turning point in the show when, instead of Fozzy going off stage before doing an encore, Jericho amusingly suggested he would be invisible if he put a towel on his face, which he did, and then Jericho told the crowd to chant “Fozzy, Fozzy, Fozzy.” A priceless moment, Jericho unmasked the towel from his face, thus reappearing and exhilarating the crowd who could not get enough of Jericho’s amazing humor.
With that, Fozzy performed one last tune, “Sandpaper,” and thanking the sold out crowd for their unending support, Jericho declared New York City to be one of Fozzy’s favorite cities to play as well as this being one the tour’s biggest shows. After taking a final bow, Fozzy left the stage the same way they had arrived earlier in the night, to a rousing ovation from a die-hard Rock-n-Roll crowd. Flying high after a killer night of Hard Rock heaven, the crowd dispersed into the streets dreaming of the next time Fozzy would grace the City That Never Sleeps.
It is no wonder the Judas Rising Tour 2018 sold out venues across the U.S. as Fozzy delivered a high energy, spirited Rock show where the passion for music between the band and the audience was truly overwhelming – even Jericho’s light-up rhinestone jacket makes an appearance. While this leg of the tour is now completed, if all you wanna do is Rock, there is still time to catch Fozzy performing on U.S. soil into late April with a few shows in mid-July, do not miss out!
Photo credit: Andrew Fiero Photography
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