Billy Talent

support Cancer Bats + Canterbury
author AP date 29/10/09 venue Guildhall, Southampton, UK

Another gig, another band to cross off my bands-to-see list. Billy Talent has always intrigued me with their devious brand of mainstream rock, and with a band like Cancer Bats supporting, the prospects for a great performance were good. Unfortunately NB and I arrived at the venue half an hour too late, thus missing the promising Canterbury who were first on the bill. Not to worry though boys, as there will be a writer or too present at their headlining gig later this month. Without further ado, let's get reviewin'.

Cancer Bats

Cancer Bats were not an obvious choice as support for their Canadian peers in Billy Talent, but if their Roskilde Festival performance earlier this year left a sour taste in my mouth, then tonight's spectacle was sweet as sugar. During the first few songs that band did feel somewhat unconvincing and, above all, out of place, but as the reception from the thousand-strong crowd grows louder and more enthusiastic, the bats began to feel more at ease.

Liam Cormier is simply a fantastic frontman with boatloads of energy and cheeky Southern charisma to dispense in between songs. The remnant crew is a little static compared to this aping maniac, but compensate through looking as grizzly, worn and metal as possible, adding an element of humorous authenticity to the band's Southern-tinged hardcore-meets-metal variant. With thirteen songs worth of red hot hardcore packed into the setlist, this was one of the lengthiest support slots I've stood through - which is a definite bonus considering the exponential growth in intensity of the performance as the set progressed. Another goodie was the airing of a brand new bats-song (the title of which now escapes me) which promises an even dirtier next album with its thick sound and breakneck pace. Good stuff.

Although this was by no means an experience of mindblowing proportions, it is difficult to fault anything in particular. Cancer Bats delivered a solid hour of rocking metal to an enthused crowd that was probably not even acquainted with the heavier side of music, providing an unexpected surprise and a noteworthy, memorable performance that left me wishing for an encore.


01. Hail Destroyer

02. Shillelagh

03. Regret

04. Pneumonia Hawk

05. Smiling Politely

06. Trust No One

07. Pray For Darkness

08. French Immersion

09. Bastard's Waltz

10. Darkness

11. Deathsmarch

12. Sorceress

13. Lucifer's Rocking Chair

Billy Talent

Billy Talent come at us all guns blazing, bright, loud and clear and deliver the kind of energetic, professionally tuned performance you would expect from a band of their status. And while nothing departs from the expected, you get the feeling that you're involved in a real rock show, thanks be to their slightly arrogant, deranged attitude and demeanor on stage. There's just something magical about concerts where every soul knows every word of every song and the enormous singalongs that ensue - also from the band's perspective I would presume, because even with sixteen songs of material evenly divided over their discography, there isn't a hint of fatigue discernible in the jumping and axe-swinging happening up there.

Part of the allure of Billy Talent, I'm sure, comes from their cute and cuddly exterior appearance which they distort into disturbing (and genuinely unique!) screaming and Gremlin-like behavior like seething rock beasts intent on scaring the shit out of your children. Mainstream or not, Billy Talent are not a pop rock band even if the occasional ballad tonight speaks against that fact. Because for every instance of adorable anthem there's another "This Is How It Goes" jumping out of the closet that will have an unsuspecting "III" album fan pissing their undies. These explosions of fury, when contrasted with moments of calm and cool, sound so fucking pissed off it cuts to the bone.

And once again, without being exceptional in any way, Billy Talent prove their worth as a live act guaranteed to deliver a memorable performance. Add a professional light show and a mix that defies the notoriously poor acoustics of the Guildhall and you've got yourself a tasty Thursday night cocktail.


01. The Dead Can't Testify

02. Devil In A Midnight Mass

03. This Suffering

04. Line & Sinker

05. Rusted From The Rain

06. Saint Veronika

07. Surrender

08. River Below

09. Diamond On A Landmine

10. This Is How It Goes

11. The Ex

12. Devil On My Shoulder

13. Turn Your Back

14. Try Honesty


15. Fallen Leaves

16. Red Flag

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