@Newcastle O2 Academy, October 17 2016
Who will musicians turn to if Donald Trump loses next month’s US election? Who will that figure of hate be? Joining Bruce Springsteen and a long list of other musicians, Benjamin Kowalewicz further riled up an already responsive Geordie audience on Monday night as he screamed ‘To the most evil, homophobic, racist motherfucker that is Donald fucking Trump!’.
This political slur took the audience to a whole new level of rowdiness as Billy Talent delivered a set packed with hits – songs they ‘don’t get to play very often’ and a few new ones thrown in for good measure.
Entering the stage after a disappointing opening from timid four piece Young Guns, Billy Talent wasted no time getting things started: looking like a band enjoying every second on stage. Despite the tragic news that Aaron Solowoniukhad (who has been suffering from MS for 15 years) had relapsed in June, the band looked extremely tight on stage, with Alexis On Fire’s Jordan Hastings providing worthy experience behind the kit.
Punk rock is a genre that always gets a rousing response in Newcastle and when they’re treated to hits like Rusted From The Rain, Louder Than The DJ and Surrender, who can blame them?
From the opening key of Devil In A Midnight Mass, Kowalewicz’s vocals were absolutely breath-taking as he hit notes most frontmen can only dream of. This pitch combined with his on-stage energy ensured he owned the room as he climbed on amps, pogoed, danced and ran around like a crazy kid. This energy was a breath of fresh air for the Newcastle audience, and his performance on the night should be a real example to many of the ‘too cool for school’ frontmen on tour.
After being treated to a number of classics, the crowd didn’t switch off as the band showcased new album Afraid Of Heights, with the title track and Time-Bomb Ticking Away getting a huge singalong – always a positive sign from a new album.
Wrapping up with Viking Death March, the band went off for a well-earned breather, before they bounced (literally) back onstage to the incredible sounds of True Honesty.
With the Academy bouncing in tandem, the crowd got what they came for as Ian D’Sa hit the first chord of Fallen Leaves, before the Canadian punks cracked it up even further with their final song of the night – the iconic Red Flag.
It’s been a few years since Billy Talent played in Newcastle, and boy did they deliver!