Music ~ Billy Talent

Canada graced New York with their presence tonight. The punk rock band, Billy Talent arrived with an incredible performance on their Afraid Of Heights tour.

Walking to Gramercy Theatre. Photo: Niya Sinckler.

Opening with “Silent Night”, fans became energized. Leading to the lead singer, Benjamin Kowalewicz questioning the attendees sitting down, “Are you guys having fun? Did you have a long day at work?” The banter amused the general audience with loud laughter in Gramercy Theatre.

Billy Talent admitted it had been a long time since they were last in the Big Apple. Kowalewicz stated to leave to the Toronto Blue Jays alone as they lost 5-1 to the New York Yankees in a baseball game earlier this afternoon. A few boos arose but Kowalewicz was redeemed when shouted that the Boston Red Sox suck. Clearly he’s an honorary New Yorker.

Soon enough, “Big Red Gun” came on and the guitarist Ian D’Sa and bassist Jon Gallant were shredding away. The crowd went mental when “This Is How It Goes” blasted from speakers, shoving each other in mosh pit form. Then there was a moment when the Billy Talent realized a youth named Jake in attendance. The crowd cheered, “Jake” for a few minutes to welcome him to his first concert. And of course “Afraid of Heights” was performed and the lyrics were belted out by admirers.

Billy Talent. Gramercy Theatre in New York. 2016.

Then Kowalewicz asked, “Would anyone mind if I sing an old song…who owns our second album?” It was awesome as “Pins And Needles” satisfied fans. At one point, the heat and humidity took over and “Surrender” soothed the tone of the gig with sways of intensity.

That didn’t last long when “Louder Than The DJ” was played and people began to jump and scream with enthusiasm. “Devil On My Shoulder” was one of those songs which most identify with. Remembering the lyrics, “As I get closer, my dreams get farther”. It was the ultimate reminder to just keep trying in life as we know from “Try Honesty”. That’s what Billy Talent’s music does. It inspires us all. “Rusted From The Rain” captured the attention of everyone as well for the entire four minutes.

Billy Talent was especially nice acknowledging that tomorrow is 9/11 and expressed how special it was to be in New York. There was a moment of solidarity as it was explained that the world is fucked up place with no real leaders. Kowalewicz invited Americans to venture to Canada and mentioned the dimensions of his backyard. Claps came from every corner of the room. Essentially, the claim was that we should all be tolerant and learn to accept others who are different in the world.

Eventually as all good things come to an end, the band disappeared for a moment. And as normal at any gig, the crowd pleaded for more. Billy Talent returned and rocked hard with “Red Flag”. Not a single person was standing still for that. Bobbing along and dancing the night away, the next song was “Fallen Leaves”. An absolute classic! The drummer, Aaron Solowoniuk went heavy and hard. I was hoping a drum stick would be thrown into the crowd. In all, it was an amazing gig. Now you know why they’re in my top 10 favourite bands. Interested in the band? The next concert is at The Foundry in Philadelphia, PA. Find tickets here.

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