Billy Talent, Cancer Bats

Oli Kember 30/10/2009

Canadian support Cancer Bats seem to share nothing with the headliners other than their country of origin. A band that sounds better on record than live, any subtleties in vocal range or guitar tune being lost in a blend of angry noise that I personally found myself resenting as I stood waiting for Billy Talent. All this shouting however, is justified by their particularly menacing front man, who we are later assured by Billy Talent is, despite his evil glares, “actually a great guy.”

On come the headliners to a surge of front row squeals, and they get stuck in. Front man Ben delivers the catchy lyrics with face distorting aptitude, and the sound is well spread through the venue. The crowd found themselves singing along to Line and Sinker, a really catchy tune, although one could be forgiven for cringing a little at his stage banter in between. He says something about one of the techies loving virgins, then muses, “Kinda lame to be 33 and talking about virgins right?” Um, yeah.

Although promoting their third album, Billy Talent III, they were careful to give the crowd the hits from their old records, and the variety of songs formed a well-rounded set list. The end of Devil on My Shoulder provided the crowd with another great opportunity to prove they knew the lyrics. They finished the set with Try Honesty from their first self-titled album Billy Talent before coming back on for Fallen leaves and highly energetic sing along Red Flag.

I went along to Billy Talent's sell out show at UEA Norwich mostly as a nod to my former 15 year-old self, and they certainly delivered nostalgia in abundance. Feeling a little guilty at times to be singing along to songs whose lyrics are largely irrelevant to me I still found respite in knowing that they could only be further from the emotions of a 33 year old front man, and if he can convince himself that he's having a good time singing them, then I certainly can.

Cancer Bats


Billy Talent


Words and Photographs: Oli Kember