Billy Talent

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Billy Talent - Live Review

Billy Talent

6th March

Leeds Cockpit

So…we weren’t really sure what to expect, would Billy Talent live up to their off the wall reputation or would those impeccable Canadian manners quash any bad boy preconceptions?

“Hey how ya doing? How’ve you been since last time? It was Halloween wasn’t it? We were your trick and treat!”

Billy Talent crash open with ‘How it Goes’ with the kids in the mosh-pit making every endeavour to warm up the slamming as quickly as possible and this is follwed by the equally energetic River Below and Link & Sinker.

Frontman Ben Kowalewicz, certainly gives the crowd what they’ve paid for and writhes around the stage like an epileptic on speed as they belt out the tracks from their self-titled album.

Billy Talent’s - Live Review
Billy Talent’s - Live Review

“So, let’s get a house together, get a small compact car, go to Ikea and decorate our little house…

We can drink lattes and watch friends, decorate

… Life is perfect

… Until she goes and does the one thing you can’t take back and that’swhen she goes and fucks your best friend. And all I can do is sing this songabout her. The fucking bitch!”

New, ever so slightly bitter, single ‘The Ex’, out 29th March, gets a massive reaction from the Cockpit crowd. Its drama and acrimony whip them up into a stage-diving, crowd-surfing, frenzy with just a smidge of microphone robbing to boot.

Their performance makes it easy to see why they’ve been crowned Best International Newcomer by Rock Sound and been recognised as one of the years Best New Bands by Kerrang readers. Gone are the mild mannered embarrassingly polite boys we met earlier and in their place are a polished quartet who know exactly what their fans want. Particularly, if what their fans want, is dating advice:

“I found out something recently… women dictate who they’re going to dance with by looking on the dancefloor and seeing if guys can dance, because apparently, if you can dance, you can fuck.

So, gentlemen…MOVE YOUR HIPS!”

Screaming, swearing and sweating frontman, Ben, isn’t let down by his band. There are no signs that the 16 stitch head injury he recently inflicted on drummer Aaron is causing any problems as he thrashes away at the back and guitarist Ian D’Sa, complete with a dark Johnny Bravo quiff, keeps up with his distinctive riff gymnastics while bassist Jon, the least energetic of the bunch, simply effuses cool.

Teasing the, predominantly young and angst-ridden, crowd with an Iggy Pop-esque flash of tummy, Ben introduces the biggest crowd pleaser of the night as the set comes to a close:

“Sometimes cosmic things just happen and something just makes all our stars align. This song kind of made all our stars align and introduced us to all of you and it’s called ‘Try Honesty’.”

This is typical of an introduction from Billy Talent and their sugary philosophical chat serves only to give the songs more of an edge and the kids lap it up. If their major label deal with eastwest/Atlantic ever falls through they certainly have a future writing ‘final thoughts’ for the Jerry Springer Show.

The crowd surfing that has been bubbling away all night reaches its climax during ‘Prisoners of Day’ with one fan beating the bouncers to launch himself from the stack of speakers into the crowd below while the band can only look on and shake their heads as they are out-punked!

With a flash of the birdie Ben introduces the final song tonight.

“ This is the last song tonight and it’s going out to the MotherFucker, George Bush.” With one last yell the Billy Talent journey in Leedsreaches its final stop.

Set List:

How it Goes

River Below

Link & Sinker

The Ex

Cut the Curtains

Standing in the Rain

Nothin’ to Lose


Try Honesty

Prisoners of today



Voices of Violence

Billy Talent - Interview Click Here

Words and pictures:

Jude Stone & Jemma Volp-Fletcher