Billy Talent / Young Guns / Say Yes – Leeds Academy – 20/10/16
Last headlining the 02 Academy Leeds in 2012, the Canadian punk rockers Billy Talent return to the venue on the ‘Afraid of Heights’ tour.Tonight’s opening band Say Yes (6) take to a rather smoke filled stage. This band also hails from Canada including members of Alexisonfire, Jersey and Saint Alvia. The crowd is currently thin on the ground with the mere front couple of rows filled up and a few people lingering in. They kick the set off with track ‘You’re Mine’. As the floor starts to fill up the band seem to become more energised. An almost unsure start seems to pick up towards the end.
UK’s own Young Guns (8) are up next. Frontman Gustav Wood rarely spends a moment of the set stood still, kicking the set off to an instant high energy start with ‘Rising Up’. The crowd seems to have filled up and are automatically engaged. A mixture of songs from current release ‘Echoes’, which was released last month sees Wood and the band provide a constant energy, engaging with the crowd who are singing along. ‘I Want Out’ is a highlight ensuring the crowd are truly warmed up and ready for the headline act.
Headliners Billy Talent (10) start their set with hit ‘Devil in a Midnight Mass’ as vocalist Benjamin Kowalewicz bounds to the front of the stage and the crowd explode. Billy Talent are known for their distinctive sound and fill the set with a great mixture of hits and new tracks from the latest album. Session and touring drummer Jordan Hastings from Say Yes helps the band in absence of drummer Aaron Solowoniuk who is on current hiatus due to his ongoing fight with MS. Kowalewicz mentions the drummer to a deafening applause from the crowd and they launch straight back into the set. The end of ‘Viking Death March’ sees the band leave the stage to chants and applause awaiting an encore. They return to the stage with ‘Try Honesty, Fallen Leaves’ and ending on well-known track ‘Red Flag’. Constant high energy, crowd interaction and endless talent from guitarist Ian D’Sa sees the band return to the UK in style.
Review & Photography: Lauren Stead Photography