While watching MuchMusic punk pop darlings Billy Talent and Sum 41 kick off their cross-continent tour with Hollerado and Indian Handicrafts at the Pacific Coliseum last week, Foreigner came to mind, though just a chorus’ worth: “It feels like the first time/ Feels like the very first time.”
Show goers who had Billy Talent’s self-titled CD in their Discman around the time the band toured as a supporting act for Sum 41 nearly a decade ago could count on reliving every chart-topping hook, melody, and frenetic scream.
First up though was Indian Handicrafts, a drummer and guitarist duo with meaty guitar jams charging fast and heavy towards some unforeseeable destination.
Then came Hollerado, a four-piece that sounds like what is supposed to be playing in the background every time anyone shotguns a beer on a summer lawn. This was their first-ever stadium performance; a “devirginizing” experience, as lead vocalist Menno Versteeg proudly noted.
The time-warp effect of the main performances was then heightened by the sudden influx of black-sweater-clad youngsters that arrived just before Sum 41 took the stage. The band’s opening leap into “The Hell Song” sent the crowd bouncing and waving in time. Front man Deryck Whibley played the rascally ringleader, directing a mostly All Killer No Filler set list with expletive-heavy banter.
After a dramatic entrance with “Lonely Road to Absolution”, Billy Talent burst into a tirelessly animated run down of jittery punk melodies spanning their 20-year-old catalogue.
Singer Ben Kowalewicz contorted wildly onstage, often stretching out a spidery palm for emphasis on songs like “Man Alive!” and “Saint Veronica”, while guitarist Ian D’Sa showcased signature rhythms with tidy precision.
With an hour-and-a-half long set, the band had ample time to turn over every head-bobbing stone, including “Try Honesty” and encores “Red Flag”, “Fallen Leaves”, and “Surprise, Surprise”, revealing true showmanship as a band that aims to please.
By Sarah Bauer
Photo: Sarah Whitlam