Fireworks

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Fozzy, The Treatment, Stitched Up Heart Hot

Added by ant-rocks     December 08, 2021    
 
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Three different bands, with different styles, who each gave it their all.

FOZZY, THE TREATMENT, STITCHED UP HEART
Chester: Live Rooms - 6th December 2021

As we move into the winter months the gig schedule is still as busy as ever; as though making up for lost time. A bitter cold Monday night in Chester begins with food in a nice warm pub, just a short distance from the venue, before braving the elements to queue to get in. The show sold out well in advance of the date so it was frustrating that a door time of 7pm still sees lots of people outside as the first band take to the stage at 7.30pm. When I first arrived in Chester I saw around a hundred people forming a line at the door and this was over an hour before they were due to be allowed in.

If I am completely honest Stitched Up Heart are the main reason I asked to cover the gig. I am a big fan of both full-length albums released so far (2016's 'Never Alone' and 2019's 'Darkness') but had resigned myself to never seeing the band play live, unless I made the trip over to the States. Due to the length of the queue outside I only arrived in time to see the last four songs, but managed to get a great spot in the photo pit to see the Modern Rock quartet up close. Lead-singer Alecia "Mixi" Demner is a commanding presence and certainly demands attention. Head to toe tattoos and striking blue hair help complete a fantastic image, but what impresses most is her vocal dexterity and power. James Decker (drums), Merritt Goodwin (guitar) and Randy Mathias (bass) are very tight and seem content in the knowledge that most eyes are on Mixi. The songs are heavier live and hit hard. I think most people in the packed room will have been unfamiliar with Stitched Up Heart, but judging by the number of people I witnessed buying shirts at the merchandise stall following the brief performance, a return to the UK in the near future would be more than welcomed.

Though I am aware of The Treatment I do not have any of their albums in my collection and have never seen them play live before. I was keen to see if the positive reviews I had read were true and also if they could match the impact made by the openers. The current line-up includes original members Tagore Grey (guitar) and Dhani Mansworth (drums), alongside Tao Grey (guitar), Tom Rampton (vocals) and Andy Milburn (bass). Rampton is actually The Treatment's third lead-singer and there has been quite a few changes in personnel since forming in 2008. What has never changed it seems, is the band's no-nonsense brand of Hard Rock. The names AC/DC and Airbourne come to mind immediately and I have to admit they entertained. The energy levels from the two guitarists especially was off the scale and if the songs lack finesse and originality they certainly proved to be addictive. The likes of 'Shake The Mountain', 'Let's Get Dirty' and 'Vampress' are riff-heavy and pack a real punch. Rampton works the crowd and his delivery is perfect for the material. I'd certainly go to see them again if my calendar has a few empty dates next year, when the band will heading out again, I may just track them down.

I have seen Fozzy once before. It was around eight or nine years ago when they were on a three-band bill with Breed 77 and Soil. I knew little about them at the time, save for the fact the lead-singer was WWE star Chris Jericho and guitarist Rich "The Duke" Ward was a founding member of Stuck Mojo. They made enough of an impact to make me buy a couple of CDs, though they were known for doing as many covers as original songs. During the ensuing years the original material has become more prevalent and I think that has helped attract more fans to the Fozzy cause.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Joining Jericho and Ward are original drummer Frank Fontsere, second guitarist Billy Grey and bass player PJ Farley, who has also been a member of Trixter, 40Ft Ringo and RA. I was allowed to watch the first three songs from the pit whilst snapping away. Jericho is front and centre at all times, but I probably spent more time watching Ward, who won the energiser bunny award for the night. He is a very expressive player and is constantly on the move. He also crowd surfs occasionally and is thankfully returned to the stage each time without harm. Jericho leads from the front and encourages the packed crowd to forget it is a Monday night and pretend it is a "Fozzy Friday"... all well and good if work allows.

Frankie Goes To Hollywood's 'Relax' may seem like an odd choice for a Rock band but it goes down a storm, as does 'AC/DC's 'Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap' later in the set. Several new songs have been released during 2021, in advance of a new album in 2022. These include 'Sane' (show opener), 'Nowhere To Run' and 'Purifier'. They nestle in amongst the more established 'Drinking With Jesus', 'Painless', 'Do You Wanna Start A War' and 'Sin And Bones' and, as with the two opening acts, the energy levels are very high and the room is very warm. The big sing-a-long songs are 'Enemy' and 'Judas' and I think many fans were disappointed that only Rich Ward seemed to make an appearance after the show.

Three different bands, with different styles, who each gave it their all. Another great night and it was good to see a full house. With that in mind surely the venue can open the doors a little earlier to allow everyone access before the first band actually starts. This has happened to me a couple of other times in the past and I'm just not willing to stand in the cold and rain for a couple of hours before a show starts.

Dave Bott

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