Year in and year out, festival season takes precedence for shows across the summer. Cue: August, the month where things slowly grind back to normal and, boy, did it have some blinders. In the midst of its Fringe Festival, Edinburgh played host to Canada’s own Billy Talent, with Pure Love as support. Was there ever a doubt over the show’s quality?
As someone who found Gallows circa Frank the best live band to witness, there was a certain trepidation surrounding how Pure Love would fare. Though fears were minimal, they proved futile within about 30 seconds of their appearance. Despite a lack of aggression and being shamelessly catchy, there was a new atmosphere to revel in. Frank still air-punched frantically and leapt around the stage – the entire band followed this suit with dedication. He’s not lost his penchant for performing in the midst of the audience – at one point or another every member of the band stood amongst the crowd; that includes the drummer, complete with drum kit. Yep.
Pure Love were fantastic. Despite many songs not being overly familiar with the audience, the energy and response was electric. A highlight proved to be ‘Bury My Bones’, though Frank talking about his pending nuptials proved another stand out moment: “If you’re with your girlfriend, wife, other half – give them a big fucking squeeze.”
Suitably warmed up, the stage was left wide open for the main event. Many crowds descend into anarchy, yet Billy Talent’s appearance shot the energy through the roof, proving utterly crazy. As the shredding riff of ‘Devil In A Midnight Mass’ filled the room, the entire room leapt into live and – dare we say – they never really simmered. They’re famed for their live performance, and this proved no different. Even standing still could render you covered in sweat and overwhelmed by the heat, the movement was vast, the energy was untameable.
Unlike George Michael, Billy Talent know what songs are appropriate in a live setting. Starting with a mass of classics and ending in the same suit, they took the mid-section to debut a small handful of new tracks from their upcoming release ‘Dead Silence’. (Take note, George.) Though unfamiliar to many, the room still refused to still; testament, perhaps, to the real quality Billy Talent possess live.
From ‘This Suffering’ to ‘Rusted From The Rain’, the singalongs proved overwhelming. Ben’s vocals were flawless, even his shrieks proved spot on; though, sometimes he was drowned in the yells of those in attendance. Leaving momentarily for their encore, the evening was closed by the epic duo of ‘Fallen Leaves’ and ‘Red Flag’. If the rest of the evening was anarchic, this was completely explosive. Despite constantly screaming, dancing, leaping and roaring, it appeared the crowd had energy on reserve just for this moment.
Fantastic. Completely fantastic. Billy Talent have a reputation surrounding their live performance and after years of seeing them live, they’ve yet to dwindle. Though fantastic on CD, a live setting is where they truly shine. I know it, they know it, and the crowdsurfing Spiderman who kept popping up knows it. Hopefully it won’t be too long until they grace our shores again, because – fuck – that was certainly a strong contender for ‘Best show of the year’.