A later than usual opening still saw a mass of people queuing up at the doors of the Limelight for a gig to remember with the one and only Billy Talent playing Belfast along with their Dublin based support, Otherkin.
The place was quite full as Otherkin came on, and they were not going to disappoint anyone. Its always difficult being a support act but Otherkin found no difficulty in getting people rocking out to their energised punky rock as they slammed straight into “Bad Advice”. They worked the audience like absolute professionals interacting with them, extolling them to join in. And after the first couple of songs there was no cajoling needed. “Come on hello”, “Treat me so Bad” and “I Was Born” were delivered with pure unadulterated joyful vigour and the crowd responded in kind with more than enough getting into the swing of things jumping about and raising their arms to the music.
“Enabler”, “React” and “Hardcore” saw the crowd pushing forward with enthusiasm and the band devoured the energy to push themselves even harder. And just when you think they couldn’t push any harder they deliver “Ay Ay” and “Yeah, I Know”, as Luke Reilly plunges off the stage, over the barrier and crowd surfs before walking through the front rows singing to everyone he meets. The crowd are rapturous and the band finish a blistering set of punk, britppop, rock that burst forth with an epidemic of joyful high energy.
Then comes the headliners, Billy Talent, and the Limelight is packed to the rafters. A rapturous roar from the crowd goes up as the Canadian band took the stage and immediately hit the ground running with “Devil In A Midnight Mass”. That was all that was needed to set the charged crowd off. They heaved, swayed, jumped, and sang their hearts out. The band basically blew on the fire and it became an uncontrollable conflagration of thrilled gig goers who just went wild.
“This Suffering”, “Big Red Gun”, and “Ghost Ship Of Cannibal Rats” kept the momentum coming and the crowd went of the Richter scale. “Worker Bees”, “Prisoners”, “Saint Veronika” and “Nothing To Lose” just kept the place pumping with energy as Billy Talent moulded the horde of devoted fans and devoted new fans like putty in their hands. The interplay between the band and the tumultuous crowd was superbly played out as every note, every word, and every movement was lapped up with enthusiasm.
On, ever on, came the energetic punk rock of Benjamin, Ian, Jon and Aaron. The guitar work of Ian, like an artisan, was gilded beautifully over the top of Jon and Aarons bass and drums as the solid sound reverberated around the Limelight 1. All the while, Benjamin’s vocals passionately produced a fantastic set piece every. Single. Time. “Navy Song”, “Rusted From The Rain”, “White Sparrows” and “Cure For The Enemy” proved these guys had definitely gotten hyped up on the greatest sugar rush ever. There was no let up in the dynamism and vitality of their delivery, even as they ploughed on with “Pins And Needles”, “Surrender”, “February Winds and “Surprise Surprise”.
Then came “Afraid Of Heights”, “Try Honesty” and “Devil ON My Shoulder” as they closed the main set. The place was boiling, sweaty, beer soaked and ecstatic. But that was not enough for Billy Talent. Oh No, not one bit. They produced “Viking Death March”, “Red Flag” and “Fallen Leaves” for their encore before finally leaving the stage and allowing the crowd some final respite.
Overall, Otherkin delivered a set full of strength, tenacity, and high end infectious tunes full of a dynamic grooved up sound that just pumped out the punk rock. They turned the place upside down with a highly charged performance, par excellence.
Billy Talent was of another dimension when it came to providing an eager audience with a performance of a lifetime. The sweat was flowing off both the band members and most of the crowd. The solidly packed Limelight moshed and headbanged, waved their arms in the air and clapped, sang and smiled the whole time. Billy Talent showed everyone what it was like to deliver a full on performance from the first song to the very last and still keep smiling. The audience just about kept up. Absolutely stellar performance.
If you ever get the chance to see either Otherkin or Billy Talent, take that chance. You won’t regret it.
Review by Ivor Whitten, Happy Metal Geek
Photographs by Darren McVeigh, Metal Planet Music