Monday, 19 November 2012

Billy Talent at The Roundhouse, Camden

Straight up I’m going to admit that this won’t be the most insightful review in the world. (Are they ever?!) The combination of a monster hangover and a rather nasty cold that emerged out of nowhere last weekend, meant that for the first time in my life I really wasn’t in the mood for a gig. I honestly felt that level of utter shite where you are almost willing a car to run you over and put you out of your misery. It was all I could do to haul myself onto the tube and crawl to the venue. Even the power nap I’d just had in a cosy pub hadn’t helped!

Upon arrival at The Roundhouse it struck me how pointless security checks are in some venues. A stern looking bouncer took one look at my overflowing handbag and clearly couldn’t be arsed to take a proper look through. “Is that your makeup bag?” he asked, gesturing to a partially visible Cath Kidston number. “Yes,” I replied. Satisfied with my response, he ushered me straight in. Ok, so it was indeed my makeup bag, but I’m hardly going to say “Actually it’s mostly filled with knives and smack!” Bizarre.

Once inside, my equally hungover companions and I sat on the floor feeling sorry for ourselves until Billy Talent came on stage, at which point we snuck in at the back and stood motionless for the whole show, barely capable of mumbling the odd lyric.

Luckily I’ve seen Billy Talent several times before and will no doubt see them again, because quite frankly they killed it, and it was incredibly frustrating not to be able to enjoy the night properly. Opening with Lonely Road to Absolution, Viking Death March and Devil in a Midnight Mass, the setlist was a strong mix of all three albums and their latest offering, Dead Silence. This is a band that know how to write lyrics as well as riffs, and that has an aggressive quality (in the best possible way!) that aways gets the crowd on side.

Formed as Pezz in 1993, Billy Talent didn’t achieve mainstream success for almost a decade – coinciding with a necessary name change thanks to an American punk band of the same name who it transpired had been using it since 1989. Re-emerging as Billy Talent (a reference to the guitarist in the novel Hard Core Logo), their self-titled 2003 album produced four singles and eventually went three times platinum in Canada. Thank goodness they did break through, because what a wasted talent that would have been! I can distinctly recall the summer of 2007 when I survived on a diet almost entirely consisting of Billy Talent I & II until even my car stereo became sick of them.

To sum this band up in a word, they are consistent. In my experience, they always put together a strong setlist, sound every bit as good (if not better) live and they always give one hundred per cent. They also like to remind you constantly that they have been playing together for nearly 20 years! Although this is probably because they are rightly proud of the tenacity that has put them where they are today.

In conclusion, Billy Talent were awesome at The Roundhouse. I, however, was not. Note to self: no more gigs on Sundays.

Yep, far too hungover to operate a camera... so here are Billy Talent at Download 2012

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