Gig Review

Billy Talent
Cancer Bats, Canterbury
Birmingham, Academy
27th October 2009
Billy Talent                 Cancer Bats            Canterbery    
Photo Of Cancer Bats © Copyright Helen WilliamsI spend a confusing 20 minutes queuing amongst young couples and children with parents for the gig tonight, only to realise I’m actually queuing for the ‘Indigo Girls’, who are playing the Academy 2 tonight. I’m relieved to find a gaggle of teenagers waiting in the queue around the corner, wearing Billy Talent merchandise; I know I’m in the right place now.

The venue is already packed as I arrive, and within minutes, the first support is sound checking. The first thing that hits me as Canterbury starts their set is the level of sound. It’s absolutely ridiculous; they’ve definitely turned it up to 11 tonight. The acoustics in the new Birmingham Academy are useless, and with the volume as high as it is, I fear for my poor ears. But on to the show – Canterbury are the perfect support for Billy Talent, with their melodic pop-punky anthems. They’re young, bouncy, and great fun to watch.

The infamous Cancer Bats are up next, and they seem a strange choice to support Billy Talent. They’re a great band to photograph; they have loads of energy - the guitarist performs constant hair flicks and vocalist Liam Cormier jumps into the crowd during the first song of the set. Once out of the pit though, there’s not much to enjoy. Their sound is a mess of thrashing guitars accompanied by Liam’s screaming and growling. Call me old-fashioned, but I like a song to have a tune. It’s not long before I need to take a break in the lobby before my ears start to bleed or my head explodes.

Photo Of Billy Talent © Copyright Helen WilliamsAfter what seems an age, Billy Talent takes to the stage. They quickly whip the crowd into a frenzy with ‘The Dead Can’t Testify’. They’re on top form, and deliver a perfect mix of punchy songs, both old and new, and slower tracks, most notably, ‘Surrender’.

The influence of Green Day on their style is evident, and Ben mentions them a couple of times, as they’re playing the next day at the LG Arena, just down the road. Strangely, the mention of their name gets a fair few boos – why would their fans dislike the musical parent of their favourite band? We’re barely halfway through the set when sweaty kids start stumbling out of the mosh pit, looking worse for wear. Some even collect their coats from the cloakroom and leave – no stamina, kids these days...

The show must go though. The band perform all the tracks you’d expect; ‘Rusted From The Rain’ and ‘Devil In A Midnight Mass’ are clear favourites. Having never seen them live before, I enjoyed the gig, but find their music and performance a little generic and formulaic. Nevertheless, their hardcore fans love every minute, and the band can’t seem to do any wrong for their adoring public.

Despite arriving on stage late, the band ends their set on time, and after a short encore, finishing with the brilliant ‘Red Flag’, we’re filing out. I can’t help feeling short-changed, but it doesn’t seem to have fazed the fans around me as they gleefully scramble for merchandise at the door.

Canterbury– 3/5
Cancer Bats – 1/5
Billy Talent - 4/5

Miles Hunt and Erica Nockalls– 3/5
The Proclaimers – 5/5

Review By Helen Williams

 Billy Talent

Benjamin Kowalewicz (Vocals)
Ian D'Sa (Guitar)
Jon Gallant (Bass)
Aaron Solowoniuk (Drums)

 Cancer Bats

Liam Cormier
Scott Middleton
Mike Peters
Jaye R. Schwarzer



 Band Related Links
Billy Talent Myspace
Cancer Bats Myspace
Canterbury Myspace
 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?