Live: Billy Talent @ Tramshed, Cardiff.
It’s been almost four years since Billy Talent were last in the Welsh capital. It’s a narrowly sold out show. There’s no doubt that people still care about them, despite this absence. But this means the pressure is on to maintain and impress the fanbase that still exists, especially with a new album under their belts.
Billy Talent have brought Say Yes along with them to open. Their sound isn’t particularly coherent, but being formed by past members of Alexisonfire, Jersey and Saint Alvia, this comes as no surprise. They’re pleasant enough, but lacking that special something. No clear genre or distinct musical element that holds them together.
Fortunately, second support, Young Guns, raise spirits again by bursting onto the stage with a powerful performance of Rising Up. The British bred band have also been trying to maintain a relationship with their UK fans from afar, having been growing their US audience for the past couple of years, but it seems they’re ready to win back the love, playing There Will Be Rain, a track that dates back to the very beginning of their career.
Singer, Gustav Wood’s eloquence is encapsulating enough to hold the crowd’s attention for the whole half an hour, ultimately strengthening the relationship with existing fans and creating the start of something new with others.
It’s unbelievable that a band of 23 years are even still together, let alone going from strength to strength. They present genuine friendship and an incredible musical collaboration.
Billy Talent’s ‘togetherness’ is apparent, as it escalates through the crowd, represented by cheery choruses sang loudly and in unison during Rusted From The Rain and Surprise, Surprise!
Watching their gig is like watching a cutting-edge Netflix show: mesmerising, attention-catching and constantly gripping. Singer, Ben Kowalewicz is a clear and confident performer and refreshingly, being humble isn’t a problem either, as he so graciously credits the equally talented members of the band too. In particular, original drummer, Aaron Solowoniuk who, due to health problems, could not make that tour.
In fact, Solowoniuk’s absence appears to spur the band on, every song acting like an ode to him; the emotional pain in This Suffering or the conflict in Devil On My Shoulder, every word speaks volumes. All these songs, dating as far back as 2003, are classics in their own right and as relevant as much then as they are now.
Billy Talent have nothing to fear. Their four year disappearance, if anything, has only made everyone hungry for more and even though their set has exceeded all expectations, it’s still not enough to satisfy their fan base. We need another tour and quick.
Live Review & Photography by Natalie Lam.