Live Review: Billy Talent – The Underworld, Camden, London, June 9th 2009

btTonight’s the night that the mighty Billy Talent return to London to play a special headline show at the tiny Underworld in Camden. After a very long days worth of queuing (6am start for me!), 7.00pm finally comes around, and so it was time to take up residency at my very well earned place on the barrier.

This is the first London headline show the quartet have played since 2007 due to the band writing and recording new material, and with only a few festivals between then up until now to quench the fans thirst for their spectacular live performances, it’s pretty obvious that the crowd are pumped and ready to get VERY hot and sweaty.

Kicking off tonight’s show were Max Raptor, an indie rock band from Derby who were definitely not what most were expecting. There’s hints of everything in their music, so it’s quite hard to pint point similarities between them and other bands but they are definitely worth a listen! They gave their everything and constantly looked like they were just honoured to be there opening for Billy Talent. Lead vocalist Wil, used up whatever space of the minuscule stage he had to put on a very high energy and electric performance, concentrating on every line he spat out. These lyrics definitely had the hooks to rival even the most famous of pop icons, which get you humming them even after you’ve left the venue. A perfect start to the night’s proceedings!

As 9.00 rolls round and the lights darken, it was time for that well known riff to rocket through the room from Ian D Sa’s guitar, and then the welcoming high-pitched scream from Ben to a huge eruption of cheers from the crowd, it was, of course, Devil In A Midnight Mass.

The set was full of belters for everyone to sink their sweaty, sing-a-long teeth into, with 4 new tracks off of their simple titled 3rd studio album, III. The lead single: Rusted From The Rain, St. Veronica, Devil On My Shoulder (which is very clearly a big crowd favourite already!) and last year’s joint release with Anti-Flag, Turn Your Back. Of course, what with internet leaks, this was not the first listen for everyone in the room, and one cocky male voice pipes up “I downloaded Billy Talent III illegally, and I like it!” to which Ben replies with something along the lines of “Thanks we appreciate it, but you’re still an asshole”

Much to the disappointment of the females in the room tonight, Ben did not remove his sweat-soaked shirt, even though at times it felt hotter than an oven. Instead, he poured a hell of a lot of water over himself, and over the crowd, and in the crowd’s faces… And talked about playing with his ‘willy’ instead, which rather amused Jon and the rest of the guys in the room.

These guys have been making music with each other for a long time now, and it shows. They still seem as tight with each other than ever, and this is evident when Ben thanks Jon, Aaron and Ian for being able to play with them.

Crowd intimidation is always the aim of Ben’s game, it’s surprising that the very clear vein in his neck doesn’t burst with his straining concentration, tearing apart the venue with favourites like Try Honesty, This Is How It Goes, Surrender, Perfect World and, of course, the colossal Line & Sinker being screamed into the front row’s faces, sweat is literally dripping from every corner, nook and cranny of the room. It’s so very easy to see why fans just keep coming back for more. As the high energy set comes to a close, the crowd welcomes Fallen Leaves with open arms, getting ready for the final voice killer – Red Flag. The fans certainly leave the show content tonight. Soaked, bruised & extremely worn out, but very content nonetheless.

Paula.

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