Games Meet Metal: Billy Talent w/ Alexisonfire, Against Me! and Cancer Bats: Another Disturbying Concert Review

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Billy Talent w/ Alexisonfire, Against Me! and Cancer Bats: Another Disturbying Concert Review

Holy jeez, looks like the floodgates were opened today! At any rate, I went to a punk/hard rock/metal concert this past Saturday here in The Peg featuring Billy Talent. They're a punk/hard/whatever-you-want-to-call-them rock band out of Toronto who are probably the biggest band going in Canada these days. Following them on this tour is Alexisonfire, Against Me and the Cancer Bats. A pretty decent lineup of bands that cover a bunch of different genres for the kiddies. Here's a breakdown on how the night went:

The Cancer Bats took the stage at 6:45pm sharp. I don't think any one but hardcore Cancer Bats fans knew they were playing because they weren't on any of the advertisements that I have seen or heard. This concert was my first exposure to the band, though I have heard the name kicked around before. They have a solid blend of metal and punk and it's a shame I didn't know any of the songs because I am sure I would have been singing (screaming) along. Their breakdowns were solid and they had great energy. Close to the end of their set, the Bats delighted the crowd with a cover of the Beastie Boys classic Sabotage. Up until that point the crowd could care less who the Cancer Bats were, so that performance garnered them some new fans.

Next up was Against Me! (you have to yell it), a punk band who plays out of Florida. Out of the three bands that I heard about, this is the one that I considered a write off. I only knew two songs (Thrash Unreal and Stop!) and while they were catchy, I didn't really care for them. I don't know if it was because I was in a punk rock mood or what, but these guys impressed the hell out of me. They played an energetic set and didn't waste much time talking to the audience. They played their two singles which got the crowd jumping and moshing, which is pretty funny because this is the tamest band on the bill. I guess Cancer Bats did more than I thought.

Twenty minutes later, Alexisonfire takes the stage and the crowd goes nuts. I've been a big fan of this group since they burst onto the Canadian metal scene in 2002 and lately the band has been gaining more momentum due to guitarist Dallas Green's acoustic side-project City & Colour. Their music has strayed away from what made people take notice in the first place but they still put on one hell of a show. Unfortunately they almost exclusively played their new material which I am not very familiar with. I was looking forward to hearing some of their older stuff, but I guess I will have to wait for their own headlining tour. The rest of the audience was enjoying the setlist and showed their affection by running around like idiots and smashing into each other. And I say that in the nicest way..... At least they played This Could Be Anywhere In the World

Billy Talent tore onto the stage at roughly 9:30 and played their hearts out for nearly two hours. I'd easily label these guys as hard rock, but they've taken a lot of influence from punk bands and incorporated it into making high-tempo songs with catchy choruses. I never really thought about it until that night, but Billy Talent has about a dozen singles that are played on Canadian Rock Radio, which is pretty impressive for a band who has only put out three albums. The advantage to this is that everybody knew the words and was singing along with them. The crowd was electric and the band fed off of us and put on a great show. They don't rely on fancy light shows, and projected images to entertain the crowd. All they use is their blood and sweat give their fans what they want. Part way through the set they called upon Against Me!'s lead singer Tom Gabel, to come and sing Turn Your Back which is a song Billy Talent recorded with long-running punk rockers Anti-Flag. For me, this was the stand out performance of the night, mostly because it's such a good song.

Overall my friends and I had a blast. My brother and I were mostly looking forward to seeing Alexisonfire and they didn't really do much for either of us. Truthfully we don't know much of the new stuff and since they're out supporting their latest album, we should have expected that's what they were going to play. But it still would have been nice to hear Accidents. And I'm not sure what kind of exposure Billy Talent has in the US, but if you haven't taken a chance to listen to them you should really give them a shot. I know a lot of strict metal heads won't like their high-pitched vocals, but the more you listen to it the more it will grow on ya. This tour will continue on through Eastern Canada until mid-April and then Billy Talent heads over to Europe for the summer.

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