Gig Review

Billy Talent
Plus Zico Chain
Cardiff, University
8th July 2006

Billy Talent                  Zico Chain

Four pounds ninety to get into Wales? That's crazy. Although, the clever “coin bin” that works out how much you chuck in there, made the situation slightly more bearable.

The Cardiff University student union is surprisingly hard to find. We were trying to follow some Internet map, however ran into the venue with ease, even though we thought we'd taken a wrong turning. However, with little parking nearby, we had to trundle on past in search for a car park. We seemed to drive for ages. And once parked and walking back, it was confirmed that we had driven for at least one age.

An hour early. A few scruffy emo kids sat around. Might as well join the queue, haven't got anything else to do. If these guys were the main bulk of the crowd, I figured it would be hard to get to the front of the crowd, or have much of an issue with pain and death in general. However, as more people joined the queue behind us, there was a significant lack of small emo girls, and they had all transformed into beefy lads in black. Oh dear oh dear.

Two girls came down the queue asking people to sign up to the mailing list and handed out badges and stickers and the like. Fucking gorgeous. But that's irrelevant.

The clock struck seven. The doors opened. Nobody went in.
I see.

It wasn't until about twenty-past that they let people in.

Welcome to Solus. The Student Union bar. The wall you enter on, is the wall the stage is on, so you have to kind of do a total U-turn once entered. It was a pretty small room to be fair, with raised seating areas over the far side, near the bar. My friends and I walked in and plonked ourselves second row, behind some comfortably short girls.

First on, The Zico Chain.
A band I was about to see for the third time. They had been there when I saw the Alkaline Trio, and again when I saw Cave In. And now they'd blagged their way here too.

A three-piece from Brighton, each member a contrast to the other. The lean Bert McCracken look-a-like on guitar, the bassist who was monged out on some drug or another, and the topless drummer who had opted for some other drugs, and was, for lack of a better phrase, going fucking mental.

They played a few songs including Rohypnol, Social Suicide, 1234, and a new one I hadn't heard before, which was possibly their best song.

Kerrang! Describes them as “what Nirvana would sound like if Kurt Kobain had stayed in Sheffield and listened to Motorhead nonstop.” So yeah, that sums it up for you.

As they ended, the singer/bassist simply launched his bass over the drummer, and onto the floor in front of the guitarist. Well each to their own.

There was much applause, they had played a great set, even though I got a text half way through saying “this band r wank.” I disagreed. It was good stuff.

And then there was the annoying wait between bands. I turned around to talk to my friend, and the two mailing list hotties were there. So we had a chat about all sorts and were getting on amazingly well. Okay, irrelevance again. But thanks to turning around, I had lost my place and was gradually being forced backwards.

And after a roadie that looked like Jesus; on came Billy, and all of his talent.

The drummer was topless, heavily tattooed, and, well, looked far too old to be in a decent band. The guitarist was coloured with the biggest hair I've ever seen. The bassist and vocalist, well yeah, just pretty normal really.

They started with their current single, Devil In A Midnight Mass.
What a brilliant song, what a brilliant opener.
Everybody singing along.
Straight into Red Flag.
But as he started singing the verse, Ben the vocalist, started doing some camp wobbles. Each to their own.

Their sound was really good considering the size of the venue, and I was worried his voice was going to sound terrible, but it really didn't. Or maybe the fact EVERYBODY was singing along, somehow blotted out the bad pitches.<

More great songs followed; Line And Sinker, This Suffering, Worker Bees.

Their new album had only been out just under two weeks, so it was surprising to hear everyone singing along to the new tracks.

By now, I had been forced back into some circle-pit type affair, with bodies flying across from all angles. We'd lost our attractive welsh companions, and were just being pounded by sweaty bodies. I was soggy.

“This next song is for one lucky lady. Who broke my FUCKING HEART. And cheated on me while I was away.”

The Ex.

“And this is for the person who made it all better.”

Such an amazing song.
Quite a contrast from their fast-paced, pit-inducing tracks.

Perfect World, Cut The Curtains, Fallen Leaves, Standing In The Rain.
All such great songs and the crowd were loving it.
Ben would put one foot on a speaker at the front of the stage, crouch down and lean out as far as he could, peering into the crowd and singing or screaming, occasionally making hand gestures relevant to the lyrics he was singing. The guitarist and bassist didn't really move much, except to and from the microphones for backing vocals, and the drummer, well, he couldn't move, for obvious reasons.

For the next song, Burn The Evidence, my friend and I moved to the bar for a drink. We had a clear view of the stage, and it was nice to have some fluids that weren't sweat. It's much easier to appreciate the music when you don't have Cardiff's heaviest elbowing you in the face.

They then played Prisoners Of Today, and River Below, before announcing they were leaving.

Anybody who goes to a gig nowadays, knows that when the headlining band go off, that's not the end. It was obvious they were coming back on, not only because of that known-fact, but also because they had not played two songs which I was adamant they would. I had already decided they wouldn't play Where Is The Line, (my favourite track from the new album,) but I knew they wouldn't miss out the others I had in mind.

And so they came back, to much cheering.
The intro to This Is How It Goes. I forgot about this one. The intro seemed to go on for ages. And then, bang bang, into it. Such an intense riff. Utter fantastic-ness.
And then the songs I was expecting; Nothing To Lose, followed by Try Honesty. Every drip of energy I had left in my body went into jumping around and throwing my arms into the air during Try Honesty. It just had to be done.

I removed my t-shirt, and cleaned myself down. Yuck. And upon exiting, bought a fresh one. That's better.

All in all, it was fucking good.
A great show by both bands; the only thing that wasn't too desirable, were the lummoxes in the crowd, but that's can't reflect the gigs' rating, because the band can't help what tossers turn up to their shows.

Review by Thom

 Billy Talent

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

Chris Glithero (Bass, Vocals)
Paul Frost (Guitars)
Ollie Middleton (Drums)
 Band Related Links
Billy Talent Myspace
Zico Chain Myspace
 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?