Soil + Fozzy + Breed77 @ O2 Academy 2, Birmingham – Thursday 29th November 2012

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Words and Photos by Tony Gaskin

A plethora of gigs on in Birmingham this evening, especially the over-hyped “Twins of Evil”, might have impacted on this less publicised event, but I was pleasantly surprised to turn up to find Breed77 already on and playing to a very decent crowd.
The Gibraltans never fail to impress me with their solid consistency, tight as ever and Paul Isola is one of my favourite front men, always connecting with the crowd with his powerful, emotive voice. A short support slot means a rapid fire salvo of crowd favourites, with the one exception. The cover of the Cranberries classic “Zombie” has been ousted as the crowd sing-a-long by a new cover, the equally iconic “Poison” which the crowd lap up.

If it’s the Twins of Evil up the road then tonight is just the Twins! Reminiscent of the cheesy Schwarzenegger Da Vito movie, Fozzy front man Chris Jericho towers over his Soil counterpart, Ryan McCoombs, but they are equals when it comes to stagecraft.
First up is Fozzy, a band that has passed me by since I dismissed them after their early forays as a spoof covers outfit. But these days, Rich Ward has pretty much made this his main project and the jokes on me. We now have a great heavy rock band with as much right to be up there as anyone.

I was hooked stright from the off with the spine tingling opening to “Spider in my Mouth”. Chris Jericho is no stranger to hoards of adoring fans with his back ground in the world of professional wrestling and he brings that confidence and swagger to the stage here and is no less theatrical, egging the crowd on. Between every song all you can hear are chants of “Fozzy” Fozzy!” Jericho has a great voice for this heavier style of R’n’R, but the driving force is Rich Ward who dazzles us with some virtuoso guitar playing, especially for “Martyr No More”

If like me you’ve casually dismissed this band, then think again. If you like Shinedown or Seether then check these guys out, you won’t be disappointed.

Setlist

  1. Spider In My Mouth
  2. Sandpaper
  3. Eat The Rich
  4. Inside My Head
  5. She’s My Addiction
  6. God Pounds His Nails
  7. Whitechapel 1888/To Kill A Stranger
  8. Martyr No More
  9. Sin and Bones
  10. Enemy
  11. Blood Happens

Damn hard to follow that and to be honest Soil don’t quite hit the mark to get the atmosphere as electric, but they still put on a solid, tight set. Opening up with “Pride”, McCoombs strolls onto stage with a big grin and gets straight down to business. Obviously pleased to be back fronting this band, McCoombs puts everything into his performance, wanting to get as close to the crowd as possible, climbing onto the barrier, sitting on the edge of the stage, he engages the crowd emphatically.

Soil songs are more edging towards a darker more personal theme than the all out rock of Fozzy, Soil fans lap it up whereas the Fozzy fans in the crowd seem a bit more subdued, perhaps feeling the positions on the bill should be swapped around, but with songs like “Obsession”, “Suffering”, “Unreal” and the cover of the Drowning Pool track “37 Stitches , Soil win over the doubters and by the end of the set when McCoombs calmly strides into the very middle of the crowd to perform “Halo” the room is jumping again.

Setlist

  1. Pride
  2. Suffering
  3. Wide Open
  4. My Own
  5. Re.Da.Fine
  6. 37 Stiches
  7. The One
  8. My Time
  9. Obsession
  10. Breaking Me Down
  11. Unreal
  12. Halo
  13. Black Betty (encore)

Of the three front men I’ve seen tonight I still put Isola as my number one, but in the battle between the two Americans, then McCoombs has the edge for me, but I’ve come away with a new found appreciation for Fozzy, so all’s good then.

More of Tony’s photos from the night can be seen below