REVIEW: Billy Talent at O2 Guildhall, Southampton

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

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.

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.