LIVE REVIEW: BILLY TALENT + AWOL NATION + DON BROCO – 02 ACADEMY, LEEDS [17/11/12]

Reviewed by Suzy Harrison

The turn out for this show, which is part of the UK’s Rock Sound Riot Tour, is good but not as busy as you would expect. With only two bands listed on the venue’s web site it’s a surprise to see Bedford boys Don Broco open the show tonight. They don’t disappoint though with masses of energy right from the start and a great reception from the crowd. They are your typical rock band but with added choreographed moves (including their move ‘the walk’). Singer Rob Damiani gets the crowd dancing and even encourages them to try doing some press-ups. A great start to the night.

The main support for the gig is AWOLNATION who have a mixed reaction with some people showing enthusiasm for the LA band and others not really getting what they are about. The stage is poorly lit for the majority of the set and this doesn’t help them make the impact they should be making on this tour. The songs are performed well but it feels like the crowd lose interest quickly. The highlight of the set is heavy electronic track ‘Sail’ which gets the best response of the performance. For the audience tonight you can’t help thinking that the line up might have worked better with AWOLNATION opening and Don Broco (who have been together two years longer) being main support.

And finally it’s time for Billy Talent. Having seen them three times before it’s satisfying to find that this Canadian band are consistently good live. Frontman Ben Kowalewicz doesn’t keep still and captivates the audience, acknowledging and involving them as much as possible. The show is also part of their world tour to promote their brilliant recent release ‘Dead Silence’ so obviously the set includes a large number of songs off this album including Man Alive!, Cure for the Enemy, Surprise Surprise and Runnin’ Across the Tracks.

Encouragingly people sing along and know the new songs. The band still find time to include old favourites off their earlier albums in their 90 minute set such as This is How it Goes, Devil in a Midnight Mass, Saint Veronika, Surrender, Devil on my Shoulder, Red Flag, Turn Your Back and Try Honesty. Kowalewicz tells the crowd that Billy Talent will have been going for 20 years next summer and it’s clear from tonight that their longevity is down a combination of great songs, strong performances and loyal fans.

[More photos available at: https://pushtofire.wordpress.com/2012/11/20/photos-billy-talent-awol-nation-don-broco-o2-academy-leeds-171112/]

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