Billy Talent, Leeds 02 Academy

Canadian rock band Billy Talent played at the Leeds O2 Academy Thursday the 20th October with support from Say Yes and Young Guns.

By Jane Howkins 

Punk rockers Billy Talent have been touring the U.K. over the last couple of weeks, and we managed to head up to their Leeds gig for a review of the band and the two support acts, Say Yes and Young Guns.

First up were Say Yes, a three piece rock band from Canada featuring members from both Alexisonfire and Saint Alvia. Their music sounded like a mixture between indie and grunge, with a fantastic punk energy to it that definitely helped to get the crowd warmed up. The only issue we noticed was that the vocals seemed to be drowned out a little by the music, and the sound did seem a little off for the whole evening, but otherwise they seemed like a fun opening band and one we would like to hear more about in the future.

Next were Young Guns, who have been around for a while longer than Say Yes and as such seemed to have a few more fans there that knew their songs. The sound quality was a little better for them as their music was slightly quieter, meaning that vocalist Gustav Wood’s vocals were a lot clearer. They played a variety of tracks from across their back catalogue which generally went down well, leaving the stage clear for the headliners to arrive.

The other two acts were good, but Billy Talent were excellent. They crashed onto the stage to the tune of Devil In A Midnight Mass, with the burst of energy from that song showing the promise of what was to come later on in the set. All five of their albums was touched upon with a slew of great songs being played from each, although we were ever so slightly disappointed to note that set staple This Is How It Goes had finally been cut from the set. However, with so many good songs they soon made up for this, and even the newer songs went down well, with particular fan favourites being be Louder Than The DJ and Ghost Ship Of Cannibal Rats.

   The band themselves were animated as always, with frontman Ben Kowalewicz running manically across the stage and guitarist Ian D’Sa and bassist Jon Gallant rocking out with a swagger that never came across as arrogant. We should also note that the band have been touring with Jordan Hastings, drummer with support band Say Yes and Alexisonfire due to normal drummer Aaron Solowoniuk’s Multiple Sclerosis sadly relapsing. Hastings managed to hold his own and performed well with the band, although we do hope that Aaron recovers soon.

The only major issue of the evening was that the sound issues seemed to persist a little during Billy Talent’s set with the music seeming to drown out Ben’s vocals a few times, but nevertheless this was still an excellent gig and a band well worth seeing if you have the chance!