LIVE: Fozzy / Hardcore Superstar – Sheffield Corporation, 03/11/2017
Chris Jericho is a wrestling god, a 20 year WWE veteran known to millions “and millions” of fans the world over. These days alternating between twin gigs as wrestler and rockstar (just let that sink in) the man they call Y2J is as at ease headlining rock shows with his band Fozzy as he is Wrestlemania. None of which apparently matters a jot to local waffle house The Cabin who Jericho admonishes during tonight’s set for not providing him with a free coffee. Fortunately for the self-styled ‘Ayatollah of Rocknrolla’ (sic), to plenty of punters he remains a draw and Corporation is packed to capacity in time for our main-event.
Before we get to that though, let’s take in our undercard. The Last Band are on first (that’s the joke) and provide us with an answer to an unlikely question. Namely. “What would Ten Benson soundlike had they grown up in Gothenburg?” Suitably stunned, there then follows an eternity of line checks as a small battalion of techies swarm on and off stage before finally it’s time for Madame Mayhem. It isn’t worth the wait. The backing band hit all the right notes, just not necessarily in the right order, whilst Madame herself provides vocals and posturing. Perhaps aiming to impress as a crazy rock goddess, this performance instead feels more reminiscent of a quiet lass from accounts going wild at the works Christmas do after a few too many shandies.
It’s up to Sweden’s finest Hardcore Superstar then to raise the bar. Now, it’s not for me to suggest any skullduggery at play, but of all tonight’s bands, the first of our co-headliners are notably quieter than any other act on the bill. Also evident is that the vast majority of this crowd are here for Fozzy (or should that be for Jericho?). Regardless, these glam tramps play a resilient set overcoming early stoicism to have the majority bouncing along by the end to traditional favourites like Above The Law, Last Call For Alcohol and of course We Don’t Celebrate Sundays.
Which brings us back to Fozzy, and a couple of obvious questions. Can Jericho sing? The answer is a resounding yes. Perhaps unsurprisingly for a performer used to entertaining five figure crowds, a few hundred metalheads in South Yorkshire are won over with ease thanks to a combination of solid vocals and flamboyant stage wear. Anyone bearing witness to Jericho’s LED infested leather jacket could well have been mistaken for thinking Sheffield council were turning on the Christmas lights a few weeks early.
Less convincing is some of the band’s material. Tunes such as Judas, Sandpaper and Lights Go Out are all good stabs at latter day rock-radio, and nestle in nicely alongside acts such as Alter Bridge and Shinedown, elsewhere though it’s more plunder than lightning with Metallica riffs rehashed behind uninspired lyrics. Thankfully a surprisingly straight cover of ABBA’s SOS brings a welcome dose of tomfoolery.
Are they deserving headliners? It’s hard to say no. Jericho’s global status undoubtedly increases the band’s appeal, but when all’s said and done if everyone goes away happy, it hardly matters.