Billy Talent – Birmingham Academy

By paul

Having had the day from hell I arrived at the new Birmingham Academy about halfway through Canterbury?s set. The place was already packed and this band certainly seemed worthy of the opening space on tonight’s line up. The Hampshire quintet have an impressive tour history and they stormed through their set. The boys seem polite, and very English, something Mike Sparks was keen to impress on me when we caught up for a chat after the show. The band have steered clear of falling into the trap of Americanising themselves as many British bands seem to and mix catchy pop choruses with solid rock undertones and kept the crowd engaged and bouncing along with the set without force. The fresh faced group were excited by the release of their album, Thank You, which has been two years in the making, and their enthusiasm and eagerness to show the UK what they?re all about was most definitely shining through.

When Cancer Bats take to the stage it?s like being kicked in the face without having to step foot into the flailing arms of the pit which instantly opened up in the middle of the floor. The poor sound at the brand new œ4million venue didn?t stifle the set which opened with Hail Destroyer and pounded through tracks from the 2008 album Hail Destroyer. The crowd were receptive and vocalist Liam Cormier didn?t have to spend time courting them and whipping them into a frenzy. Sorceress was as ever the most popular and the whole floor moved as the band confidently and comfortably performed the hit. We were treated to a track off the new album, which is set to be released early next year. Darkness is a great teaser for what to expect from the new release and has the stoner rock momentum of Lucifer?s Rocking Chair and Deaths March which completed the set. Some onlookers looked shocked and somewhat confused at this hardcore outfit who fail to disappoint and the energy Cancer Bats bought to the stage could not be denied by even the most docile attendee.

Billy Talent stormed onto the stage opening with The Dead Can?t Testify taken from their new album, proving that this now highly produced outfit still have it in them to put on a fast paced high energy show. The set combined a reliable mix of old favourites and new, powering through Devil in a Midnight Mass, This Suffering and Line and Sinker. The new songs, although well received with a lot of the crowd singing along seemed to pack less punches than the old tracks which were still the best received songs of the evening. It?s clear that the band have grown up but their sound hasn?t progressed in a way we?d expect with bands of a similar longevity; instead Billy Talent have stuck with what they do best. Saying that, the fans were treated to the usual yet rather restrained rant from front man Ben Kowalewicz?s about ?that time he was cheated on? that any veteran of Billy Talent shows will be all too aware of as the opening to The Ex. The 14 song strong set was rounded off with an encore of the classic crowd pleasers Fallen Leaves and Red Flag which bought out a last bought of energy from the crowd and ensured everyone went home happy.