Billy Talent would make their Belfast debut this evening after a long wait for their devoted fans, a packed out Limelight Belfast would ensure they think about a return to Irish shores once again.
Up first Dublin band Otherkin, a quirky four piece with a Alt-Rock-Brit-Pop quality that provided a highly captivating performance and a punchy warm up for Messers Talent. With a guitarist in Tartan trousers and a Slayer T-shirt a contradiction in terms you knew Otherkin would challenge the senses. A lively and energetic bunch, front man Luke Reilly worked all his Irish charm to get the crowd involved, trying to drag them tooth and nail into the vibe of this gig whether they liked it or not!
How do you do that? Crowd surfing of course! Throwing himself into the Belfast crowd I think he was expecting to be thrown back towards the stage, instead the crowd took him stage right with security clambering after him. Don’t fuck with a Belfast crowd!
They wrapped up the evening with a hefty pulsating number and on a high, Belfast had taken them under their wing after a fine performance.
Tonight though was about one thing, Billy Talents Belfast debut show. I have a long standing personal love affair with Billy Talent, around ten or eleven years ago myself and my partner were looking for a dog, I fell in love with the idea of a Shiba Inu after watching Caesar Milan on tv whilst he was training one, obligatory You Tube searches began and whilst watching a video of a Shiba pup along came the soundtrack to Billy Talent, ‘Surrender’ and then ‘Devil In A Midnight Mass’ – I was sold! Two loves were spawned that night and guess what I called my dog?
Izzi, …..what did you think im fuckin’ crazy or something?
Anywho, tonight saw a packed out Limelight Belfast welcome these Canadian boys to Irish soil (Norn Irish) once again after a stellar show in Dublin the previous night. Kicking off with a bang, ‘Devil In A Midnight Mass’ the room erupted as an army of manic fans bounced their way through this signature Billy Talent track. Followed up by the infamous ‘This Suffering,’ the stage was lit up as frontman Benjamin Kowalewicz rose up above the crowd majestically orchestrating proceedings.
By the time ‘Big Red Gun’ had ended he apologised to the room stating “I don’t know why its taken us so long to get here, but hopefully it’ll be the first of many” to which the room erupted once again. With his sharp and rapid-fire vocal delivery Kowalewicz would engage with the crowd throughout the night drawing them into each and every song.
“As tonight is our first night here you don’t mind if we play a selection of songs do you?” he asked, and with that ‘St Veronika’ came crashing down, as guitarist Ian D’Sa played the heavily distorted bridge the Limelight was lit up like a Christmas tree in a barrage of strobe lights in pulsating rhythmic fashion.
The guys ploughed their way through a plethora of trade mark Billy Talent classics, new and old including my beloved ‘Surrender’ before wrapping up a glorious evenings shenanigans with three killer tracks, ‘Viking Death March, ‘Red Flag’ and ‘Fallen Leaves’
Sweaty bodies and over exuberant heart rate’s spoke volumes about the level on intensity of tonight’s show and of the love in the room for one of Canada’s finest exports, no, not maple syrup, just give me a healthy dose of Billy Talent any day.
An explosive set by the Toronto natives left Belfast breathless.
Devil In A Midnight Mass
Big Red Gun
Ghost Ship Of Cannibal Rats
Nothing To Loose
Rusted From The Rain
Cure For The Enemy
Pins & Needles
Afraid Of Heights
Devil On My Shoulder
Viking Death March
Photography : Steven Donnelly / SJD Photography