Review and Pics by Mark Lloyd
2013 seems to be a pretty good year for the members of Voodoo Vegas. Hailing from Bournemouth, their debut album ‘The Rise of Jimmy Silver’ was released in March, the band was voted ‘Best New British Band’ in a Classic Rock Magazine poll, they then bagged a new management deal and if that wasn’t enough they’re supporting a summer tour with Fozzy and Breed 77.
Opening for two big names like Breed 77 and Fozzy has got to be gut-wrenching for even the most seasoned of rock bands but Voodoo Vegas rose to the challenge and frontman Lawrence Case engaged the expectant audience effortlessly. At some points he leaned so far into the rampant crowd that I expected to see him disappear into the swarm, never to be seen again.
Twin guitarists Lawrence Case and Meryl Hamilton traded riffs and guitar licks throughout their set like a pair of duelling pistols, while Ash Moulton on bass and drummer Matt Jolly kept the band effortlessly in check and in time.
A short but energetic set, Voodoo Vegas are a band of vigour and enthusiasm, worth investigating… Definitely!
Easily a headline act in their own right, Breed 77 hot footed it over from Bloodstock where they’d played the night before, to wow the eagerly awaiting Stourbridge crowd with their very distinct mix of flamenco metal.Right from the off, front man Paul Isola flexes his impressive vocal dexterity muscle with the impressive tracks ‘Drown’ and ‘Blind’, both tracks which for me summarize the band’s sound to a tee and place the bar high for the rest of the set.
Every track is a flawless fusion of heavy metal and the Latino nuances from the twin guitars of Danny Felice and Pedro Capparos. This is backed by the meaty back line provided by bassist Stuart Cavilla and drummer Andre Joyzi, giving Breed 77 their edge.
The thing I loved about Breed 77 is that they’ve managed to avoid the mainstream metal hype that so many bands fall into yet they still manage to turn out consistently solid rock tracks. They aren’t afraid to experiment and break away from the stereotypical metal template, constantly surprising their fans and keeping us on our toes.
As the set unfurled into ‘Fear’ and ‘Bring on the Rain’ there was very little time to take stock and look around at the sea of bodies that packed the room. I was then a little unprepared for their cover of The Cranberries hit ‘Zombie’. An unorthodox cover but bloody hell it was good and had the crowd moshing up and down eagerly. To be honest Isola had the audience eating out of his hand and he could have sung a cover of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and the crowd would have loved it!
There was just time to squeeze in ‘Insects’ and crowd favourite ‘La Ultima Hora’ before Breed 77 exited the stage leaving a sweaty sea of fans begging for more.
By the time Fozzy took to the stage the fans at The River Rooms were crammed in like sardines and it really was ‘breathing room’ only. But no matter, they still found enough air in their lungs to chant FOZZY! FOZZY! mixed in with a smattering of ‘Y2J’!
It was good to see the balance of fans had finally started to swing from WWE fans to hard rocking Fozzy fans, this was proof that this wasn’t just a band founded by a professional wrestler.
The comapact and bejou stage gives the gig that feeling of intimacy and connection with the bands, but I felt that maybe this would hold back charismatic frontman Chris Jerico from strutting his stuff but I was so wrong.
Jerico, along with his band, burst onto the stage like a jack in the box immediately taking his rightful place upon his stage riser and engaging the crowd.
As the Fozzy boys opened the show with ‘Spider In My Mouth’, ‘Sandpaper’ and ‘Pray for Blood’ Jerico did his thing and strutted up and down the stage like the consummate performer he is.
It’s sad to admit but I’m a Fozzy ‘virgin’ and was pleasantly surprised at the wide vocal range that Jerico had and even more surprising his ability to make it all the way up to the high notes, especially on tracks like ‘She’s My Addiction’ and ‘Inside My Head’.
Behind the charismatic Jerico there’s a four strong wall of sound created by guitarist extraordinaire Rich Ward, Paul DiLeo on bass, Billy Grey on guitar and Frank Fontsere on drums.
Guitarist Ward kept the crowd captivated with some truly awesome licks and riffs on ‘Eat the Rich’ (a cover of the classic Krokus track) and ‘To Kill a Stranger’. If his guitar playing wasn’t enough for you then his bouncy goth two step jig was enough to keep anyone mesmerised. I swear the guy had springs in his feet!
All good things do have to come to an end but before it did they whipped the crowd up once again with ‘Martyr No More’, ‘Enemy’ and finished off with the crowd pleasure ‘Blood Happens’.
The night ended just the way it started with thunderous chants of FOZZY! FOZZY!
A successful professional wrestler, Chris Jerico may have been but a charismatic frontman of rock he IS, without a doubt!