REVIEW: Billy Talent at O2 Guildhall, Southampton

It's been seven years since Billy Talent brought their furious brand of electrifying politically-charged post-punk to Southampton Guildhall.

Thursday, 27th October 2016, 8:57 am
Updated Thursday, 27th October 2016, 5:21 pm
Billy Talent. Picture by Dustin Rabin

Storming onto the stage, the quartet from Toronto, Canada launched straight into the decidedly dark Devil in a Midnight Mass, with lead singer Benjamin Kowalewicz testifying like an evangelical preacher; gleefully whipping the audience into a frenzy while owning every inch of the stage.

Not letting up for a second, Talent gave an incredibly tight performance; bursting with energy from start to finish. Guitarist, Ian D’Sa seamlessly shredded his way through fan favourites and new tunes alike in a set comprised of some of the strongest tracks from Talent’s five albums. If you have a favourite Billy Talent song, they probably played it.

The highlight of the show came when Kowalewicz dedicated Viking Death March to the ‘racist, misogynistic, Donald Trump’, suggesting in a roundabout way that the Republican candidate’s head be ‘raised up on stake’ to rapturous cheers from the crowd.

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Meanwhile, Jonathan Gallant’s superb bass work and drummer Jordan Hastings (standing in for Aaron Solowoniak, currently battling multiple sclerosis) didn’t miss a beat.

This was achieved despite the guildhall’s notoriously bad acoustics and technical difficulties which lead to D’Sa needing a swift guitar change in the middle of Red Flag which closed out a phenomenal performance.