Words by Callum Parr
To be totally honest, on a dreary Tuesday night at Adelaide’s stickiest venue, expectations on attendance to Billy Talent’s return were low. However, without having to step foot inside Fowler’s, that assumption was put to rest. In fact, on the contrary, the venue was already packed… and for good reason.
Adelaide’s own Young Offenders opened the evening’s proceedings, taking to the stage with front man, Kyle Landman sporting a Jamaican flagged guitar strap and his standard bowler hat stolen from Pete Doherty’s wardrobe. With a brief “let’s dance” shouted into the microphone the trio dived into forty minutes of their brand of speedy indie-punk jams. With tunes perfect for the audience and stage and banter that made everyone forget these guys were the openers, it wasn’t long before they had the room moving. By the time they reached ‘The Boys are Out’, a track about “going out with the boys or girls” (something perhaps a crowd of Adelaidians didn’t quite have in mind for a Tuesday), the whole audience was jiving to every beat.
“I sell burgers when I’m not doing this” … “They’re really good if that makes any difference,” told Landman before a pretty much perfect cover of the Clash’s ‘London Calling’, (Landman’s accent to thank for that one).
The set of catchy Brit-pop/punk, with fast paced drumming and a bass tone amplified by Fowler’s low-end, beefy brand of acoustics was wrapped up with new track ‘Your Daddy is Above the Law’. Seconds after the final notes, Young Offenders left the stage as casually as they had entered while the crowd expressed their evident appreciation.
The venue was now packed and punters had a pleasant half hour to top up beers. The room erupted with cheers as Billy Talent took the stage in their album colours of red and black. There was a brief moment of anticipation before the intro riff to ‘Devil in a Midnight Mass’, which saw the room turn to a pool of sweaty bodies and a jungle of raised hands. “We are Billy Talent from Toronto, Ontario, Canada...” announced frontman Ben Kowalewicz with a bottle of Adelaide’s finest Cooper’s Sparkling Ale in his hand.
Wasting no time before playing the new record, they jumped into ‘Big Red Gun’. As they rolled through their arsenal of hits including ‘Red Flag’, ‘Devil on My Shoulder’ and ‘Cry Honesty’, Kowalewicz sipped his sparkling ale more and more, apologising as he was suffering from the flue; an unnoticeable factor until much later in the set. Nonetheless, the audience continued to froth over Ian D’Sa’s licks and pitch perfect back up vocals.
Finally after numerous mid-set chanted requests, Billy Talent concluded their set, shorter than expected due to illness, with fan favourite ‘Fallen Leaves’. As the band departed the stage the audience’s chants for an encore battled against the house music. Eventually the lights were turned on, and the night had ended.
Words by Callum Parr