Billy Talent, Half Moon Run and July Talk @ the Bronson Center

Billy Talent at the Bronson Center.

Billy Talent roared onto the stage at the Bronson Centre on Labour Day and for a great cause. The boys from Toronto are currently touring Canada and playing smaller venues while raising money for the Red Cross to help the victims of the Lac Mégantic explosions.

Billy Talent set the bar high right away opening with the blistering ”Devil in a Midnight Mass.”  Most of the balcony rose from their seats from the strum of the first note, but after the first song the rest were ordered to stand.

The sold-out crowd loved every minute of it.  Any time lead singer, Ben Kowalewicz, pointed the mic to the crowd they would complete the lyrics, no matter the song. Billy Talent were also fans of the opening acts. “Did you guys like July Talk and Half Moon Run?” asked Kowalewicz. “Pretty darn good eh, goes to show how fucking awesome our country is.”

Kowaleicz, expressed his disdain for Labour Day because it always meant school was about to start. “How many people have to go to school tomorrow? That’s one of my least favourite days in the world. I would hate going to school, picking out clothes, trying to look good,” he said.  Then came excellent advice for the younger crowd to hang onto: “Just remember, all those people who think they’re cool, they’re gonna end up as janitors. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a janitor. But if there’s that cool guy walking the halls that you just wanna punch in the face, just ignore him because he’s gonna get what’s coming to him.”

The set had sprinkles of new and old, spanning 10 years of albums – yeah you feel old now, don’t you? The highlight for me was the three song onslaught of ”This is How It Goes,” ”River Below” and ”Try Honesty,” before they left the stage. They returned for an encore to cap off their set with ”Fallen Leaves” and ”Red Flag.”

Last time I saw Half Moon Run, it was a hot sunny afternoon at Bluesfest, it may have been even hotter this time inside the Bronson Centre. Their energy is as infectious as their sound.  This band will explode soon and will not be playing small venues like this for a long time, so I am very glad to have seen them in this setting. Another cool thing about this band is they have a set of keys on the drums where the hi-tom and mid-tom would be.  It is pretty mind blowing to watch someone drum and play keys at the same time. I truly love their song, “Call Me In The Afternoon,” where there are three members of the four on stage playing percussion. The song is so catchy!  They concluded their performance with their first single, “Full circle.”

Opening up the night was July Talk from Toronto. They have two very different voices that work amazing together. Guitarist and vocals, Peter Dreimanis, has a strong and raspy rock voice, while vocalist, Leah Fay, has a soft cute voice, but my God they complement each other wonderfully.  A prime example of that is their single “Paper Girl,” which is also the song they used to closed with. During their set they did something I have never seen done before: Fay sang an entire song while balancing a water bottle on her head. I look forward to seeing them again, they were one of the best first acts I have seen in a while.

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