You can’t survive over 20 years as a band without knowing a few things about playing live, and on a Wednesday night in the LCR, Billy Talent proved just that.
Opening acts Say Yes and Young Guns do little to help warm up proceedings. Say Yes pump out mildly edgy dad-rock with all the energy that implies. Young Guns, meanwhile, are an echo of their past selves, avoiding the old, but well known, parts of their catalogue to pump out their fairly soulless new cuts. Stage movements felt meticulously planned and fall flat as the band swaggered and swayed but with no real presence beyond that. Only on the final track of their set, ‘Bones’, does the band really get any energy going, begging the question as to why earlier efforts were ignored for most of the set.
From the first note, Billy Talent show they have neither of these faults, brimming with as much energy as a toddler on blue smarties. Singer Ben Kowalewicz struts and leaps around the stage, but unlike their forerunners on the stage it feels completely unplanned. Every moment is organic and brimming with energy from the opening scream of ‘Devil in a Midnight Mass’. Though the middle of the set fails to carry the energy of the earlier numbers, as the band trace through deep cuts and new tracks, and Kowalewicz gets a little overindulged in political ramblings, the momentum of the night never goes. As the band’s encore kicks in with ‘Try Honesty’ the energy reaches fever pitch. By the end of finale ‘Viking Death March’ there isn’t a body in the room not moving.
Billy Talent may not be as strong as many of their peers on record, but their live show puts those peers to shame with it relentless energy.