I remember the first time I listened to Billy Talent, about 10 years ago. Their unique and energetic sound resonated with me, though throughout the years I have never considered myself a die-hard fan. After attending their show April 3rd at Budweiser Gardens, I was left with one question — what took me so long?
Billy Talent headlined the Wednesday night show with supporting acts Sum 41, Hollerado, and Indian Handcrafts — all of which are fellow Canadian bands.
The night began with Barrie, Ontario natives Indian Handcrafts. The drum and guitar duo may have looked small on the arena-sized stage, but their hard riffs and loud screams made for a great first opening act.
Next on the bill was Ottawa’s Hollerado. They played to a somewhat interested crowd, as their songs had more of an indie pop than a punk rock feel. Despite the genre differences, Hollerado eventually began to win the crowd over with their charisma, often interacting with the audience between songs.
This show was not the first time that Sum 41 and Billy Talent had toured together. In fact, as pointed out by Billy Talents lead singer Benjamin Kowalewicz later in the night, it was Sum 41 who brought Billy Talent on their tour back in 2003.
The co-headliners Sum 41 brought the crowd to their feet with “The Hell Song” to start. Though the punk rock band’s older members are starting to show their age – especially that of lead singer Deryck Whibley – their sound has gone unaffected.
Interestingly, the band chose not to play any songs from their latest album Screaming Bloody Murder, though the crowd did not seem to mind. It was classics such as “We’re All to Blame” and “In Too Deep” that had fans chanting along with the band.
Sum 41 provided the audience with a good overall performance, though it was odd seeing them as an opening act. They would leave the stage as quickly as they appeared, making room for the night’s main headliners, Billy Talent.
When the lights dimmed and Billy Talent took the stage, they started off the show with some songs from their latest album with “Lonely Road to Absolution” and “Viking Death March.”
Kowalewicz interacted with the crowd the entire night, with a lot of talk about Canadian things such as hockey and Stompin’ Tom Connors— a man to whom they dedicated a song. At multiple points in the show, Kowalewicz was handled a portable camera that displayed what he saw on the two jumbo screens at the sides of the stage — a nice touch.
In addition to playing a lot of their newest material, Billy Talent included their hits as well. Songs such as “River Below,” “This Is How It Goes,” “Try Honesty” and “Fallen Leaves” brought the crowd to critical mass.
The crowd remained loud and involved for the entire show, despite a relatively low attendance. The sound quality and light show were equally impressive, and made for an even better experience.
After a night filled with Canadian content, attendees were left with a great show. Both Sum 41 and Billy Talent are stalwarts of their genres, and both could easily pull in crowds. To have both on one night was surely a treat for London.