Fozzy with Jettblack @ Sub 89 (Reading, UK) 2 Nov, 2011

Crotchety metal and duelling guitars – just what a Halloween hangover needs!

On the first night of their European tour, Fozzy's lead singer Chris Jericho was preparing the cheering crowd for the heaviest, dirtiest, filthiest, nastiest metal when he threw out the ‘C’ word. This came much to the amusement of guitarist Rich Ward who put it to the audience straight: ‘Are you into crotchety metal?!’

Opening for Fozzy were British hair metal nostalgists Jettblack. Bass player Tom Wright looks like the happiest man alive when plucks his first note and looks out to the cheering crowd. Their relatively brief set is packed full of fun and energy; old favourites like Get Your Hands Dirty, Slip It On and Two Hot Girls really get the crowd jumping. You know that when guitarists Jon Dow and Will Stapleton compete in a game of duelling guitar solos, the likes of which could set fire to an igloo, that you’re in for a good night.

Similar in sound to Skid Row they blast out riffs and guitar squeals of the kind you assume Snake Sabo dreams of. The biggest shame of the night was the fact there were too many bands on the bill. The two bands before even Jettblack got on stage – Lost Without Cause and Verses – made their set feel much too short.

The biggest cheer of the night comes when wrestling superstar Jericho runs up to his microphone. The Fozzy frontman is a bundle of energy, eating up every inch of the stage, and cheers along the band as well as the fans. Jericho takes off his leather jacket to reveal his tree trunk arms but despite the fact in his other job he regularly lifts and tosses guys (steady now) who probably weigh the same as 4 or 5 audience members put together, there is no element of fear from the audience in his ability to control the crowd.

Sound problems affected the opening few songs. The band was too loud and drowned out any guitar solos and Jericho’s singing. When it was finally sorted Jericho showed off his surprisingly good live voice.

Fozzy filled the 80-plus minutes set with ease. Their super-charged brand of metal pounded along to the tune of staple live hits Feel The Burn, Martyr No More, God Pounds His Nails, Grail and Eat The Rich. Although, when it came to their second encore there was a noticeable drop in energy.

Jericho and Ward, along with Frank Fontsere, Paul Di Leo and Billy Grey make an effortlessly tight band but with enough of a loose edge to remain ‘crotchety’.