After catching Billy Talent put on an outstanding performance back in the summer at Download Festival I knew I had to see them again and at their own headline show and tonight the band brought their Afraid Of Heights tour to Bristol, Academy with support from Young Guns and Say Yes.
Say Yes were the first band of the night taking to the stage 45 minutes after the doors opened and they are a three piece alternative rock band from Ontario Canada and made up of Adam Michael, Michael Zane and Jordan Hastings, with Hastings being best known for being the drummer Alexisonfire and also drumming on the latest Billy Talent album ‘Afraid Of Heights’ due to long term drummer Aaron Solowoniuk taking time out of the band to concentrate on his long going battle with MS.
It was a no brainer for Say Yes to join the Billy Talent tour as Jordan Hastings was already part of the tour drumming for Billy Talent and decided to take on the task of playing two sets a night by bringing his band Say Yes over who’s debut album ‘Real Life Trash Mag’ is out at the end of the month.
Within minutes of being on stage it was clear to see that Say Yes are not only a real energetic band but they are also talented musicians with Jordan Hastings smashing the hell out of his drums at every opportunity, whilst Adam Michael and Michael Zane laid down some big guitar riffs and basslines whilst letting off some impressive dual vocals.
During their 30minute set Say Yes played a collection of songs from their debut EP and their forthcoming album and it was the grungy sounding ‘You’re Mine’ which stood out the most for me due to its catchy hooks and fast paced energy.
Up next were High Wycombe rockers Young Guns a band who I last saw on the live circuit back in February 2015 when they were special guests on the Kerrang Tour and had a super short set of three songs but absolutely smashed it, so it was good to see them on the live circuit again especially considering they have released two albums since then.
Young Guns came to warm the crowd up for Billy Talent tonight and that is exactly what they did as the whole band are natural entertainers and they put on one massive energetic show throughout their 30minute set where frontman Gustav Wood graced pretty much every inch of the stage whilst banging out his pitch perfect vocals whilst the rest of the band laid down their instrumental work in style.
Through their set Young Guns played some old songs but it was mainly songs from their latest albums ‘Echoes’ and ‘Ones And Zeros’ which graced the venue, and it was the epic set closers of ‘I Want Out’ and ‘Bones’ which gained the biggest reaction from the crowd tonight.
Moments before Billy Talent took to the stage the venue was packed to the rafters and boiling hot with hundreds of eager fans waiting for their idols to take to the stage and as soon as the band took to the stage and the first chords of opener Devil In A Midnight Mass was played, mayhem erupted in a good way with the mosh pit flowing in full rhythm with fans risking being kicked out of the venue by crowd surfing within the first 30seconds of the set and this was pretty much how the night progressed for the next hour and an half as the band and their fans partied like tomorrow was the end of the world.
Now Billy Talent are one of the hardest working political punk acts in the world, they have 5 albums to their name and have played thousands and thousands of live shows since their formation and tonight it is clear that their years of hard work has paid off as the band were looking dapper tonight dressed in red, white and black and they were also on fire musically and totally oozing energy with drummer Jordan Hastings taking his second set of the night with ease, with guitarist Ian D’Sa looking as cool as ever whilst frontman Benjamin Kowalewicz had the crowd in the palm of his hand throughout the set.
The set that Billy Talent played was like a massive greatest hits set with a few new songs thrown in for good measures which makes sense considering the band released a greatest hits album back in 2014 with a couple of new songs as a stop gap whilst the fans eagerly waited for their fifth album ‘Afraid Of Heights’.
The likes of ‘The Suffering’, ‘Big Red Gun’, ‘Afraid Of Heights’, ‘ Rusted From The Rain’, ‘The Crutch’, ‘Surrender’, ‘River Below’, ‘ Louder Than The Dj’ and ‘Devil On My Shoulder’ all went down a storm with the crowd but it was ‘White Sparrows’ and the speech Benjamin Kowalewicz did introducing the song which touched the hearts of the crowd tonight as he dedicated the song to their friend Nick Alexander who was sadly killed in the terror attacks in Paris last November.
The show came to an end with a three song encore which consisted of ‘Try Honesty’, ‘Fallen Leaves’ and ‘Red Flag’ and it was easily the best encore I have heard in a long time with it becoming one massive energetic sing-a-long moment.
Overall the show tonight was outstanding, Say Yes showed true potential, Young Guns showed that they are at the top of their game and still going strong and Billy Talent set the benchmark for punk rock shows in Bristol and put on a show that won’t be forgotten in a hurry.
Say Yes 3.5/5
Young Guns 4/5
Billy Talent 5/5
Review By Trigger