|Photo by: Haylee Pearl|
U-Nite Columbus is the name of the under-publicized concert disappointment of the year put on by MTV to promote youth voting. It was free to everyone with a valid college ID, but on the first cold, rainy night of the fall season, less than 100 people took advantage of that offer.
A modest stage was set up in Genoa Park, a beautiful riverfront location laid out before the Columbus skyline, but unfortunately not many people got to see it.
They have no idea what they were missing.
In case this band hasn’t bulldozed its way into your iTunes library yet, you should know that Foxy Shazam is a six-piece rock band from Cincinnati that promotes theatrics, indulgence and fun in the form of over-the-top, Queen-like rock anthems and piano ballads. They exude energy and enthusiasm as easily as most people exhale.
Most bands--especially ones that have been to Lollapalooza and Warped Tour--might not put forth the effort to put on a good show for such a small crowd, but Foxy Shazam is not one of those bands. They came to rock, and dammit, that’s what they did.
The dwindling numbers didn't deter the band from immediately kicking off their set with “Oh Lord,” easily the strongest song on their self-titled third album. The song is a glamorous, exuberant expression of the hardships of life from lead singer Eric Nally to his son, Julian. There’s a trumpet solo, an operatic a cappella bridge, and the chorus includes the phrase “keep on keepin’ on.” They performed it with the gusto it deserves, as if they were playing to a packed house on Soul Train.
The dozen or so people up front matched every molecule of the band’s energy, doing their best to keep up with the machine-gun-speed “shananananana” refrain in “Introducing Foxy,” and by shouting every word to “The Rocketeer” at the top of their lungs. They felt the exhilaration of being this close to the stage, close enough to zip Nally’s fly... but why would anyone want to do that?
In between songs, Nally, who can’t be more than 5’5” and 110 pounds and sports a curly black mustache, enlightened the crowd with anecdotes and bite-sized philosophical quotes. He spoke such wisdoms as, “If the world didn’t suck, we would fall off.”
He also told a story about how he’s plotting to become the world’s first millionaire McDonald’s employee. He said he’ll wait until the restaurant hosts their annual nationwide Monopoly sweepstakes, break into the store after dark (with the band, of course) and steal all the french fry boxes until they find a winner. If they keep having to play to crowds this size, that might actually have to happen.
After that anecdote, the audience was treated to a new Foxy Shazam song, which they did not introduce, and as-of-now is untitled. But it does contain the lyric “That’s the biggest black ass that I’ve ever seen and I like it,” which explains the recent photos the band has posted on their Twitter page.
Hopefully, it makes it into their regular rotation.
Keeping it sexy, the band bused out the brassy “The Only Way To My Heart...” and blistered through “Yes! Yes! Yes!” while a few brave souls try to start a mosh pit.
Even though it’s now officially raining and dropping below 50 degrees, that didn't stop the boys from busting out the usual bag of Foxy tricks.
At a typical show, Nally would call out to the audience that he needs a smoke and is bombarded from every angle with packs of cigarettes. This night, however, it was more like he asked politely and a girl up front handed him one. Normally, this is the part where he lights up a dozen cigarettes at once and takes a few mega-puffs before turning them around, shoving them in his mouth, chews them up and spits them out. Being a trooper, he follows through with this act tonight, albeit with only one cigarette.
But Nally’s not the only attention whore on stage. Bald, bearded pianist Sky White likes to stand up on his keyboard, play songs with his feet, play blindfolded, upside-down and even lets Nally stand on his shoulders.
Actually, Nally stands on everything. The drums, the keyboards, the guitarist, the trumpeter, his own head and (sometimes) his feet.
Their fingers must have been freezing, but they refused to slow down. There’s no such thing as a low-energy for Foxy Shazam, particularly shown in their rendition of the bouncy, electrifying “Count Me Out.”
From there, they hammer out a Misfits cover. I can’t say anything else about it, other than a gyrating trumpeter is probably not what the Misfits had in mind when they wrote it.
The band then launched into “Unstoppable,” the closest thing they may have to a hit. It was played during Super Bowl TV spots in 2010. Eric wears a high hat as, well, a hat and lets the drummer beat the shit out of him for a few seconds. The crowd responded accordingly.
Foxy finished up with a dramatic rendition of “Ghost Animals” and then they screamed and swung and did synchronized spins during “Killin’ It,” before thanking the crowd and exiting the stage.
Naturally, there’s an encore. At the request of a fan, the band plays “Bye Bye Symphony,” the perfect way to end the hour.
Foxy Shazam deserves better than a crowd of roughly 60 people, and probably whatever the promotions people at MTV offered them, but they fearlessly delivered every modicum of the antics, excitement and bliss that their shows unfailingly offer.
If the opportunity to see Foxy for free ever presents itself again, please know better than to pass it up.
Oh Lord Introducing Foxy The Rocketeer Untitled new song The Only Way To My Heart Is With An Axe Yes! Yes! Yes! Count Me Out Misfits cover Unstoppable Ghost Animals Killin’ It
Encore: Bye Bye Symphony
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