With the East Coast leg of their Canadian tour slowly coming to a close, thousands of fans gathered to welcome home punk rock legends, Billy Talent, as they made a quick stop at the Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday night with special guests Rise Against and NOBRO.
Billy Talent was set to hit the stage at 9:35pm, but right before the lights dimmed drummer Aaron Solowoniuk appeared on stage. He introduced himself and gave a quick speech thanking everyone for coming out, spoke about the food drive they were running at the show and how grateful they were for Scotiabank Arena’s $5000 donation to the Daily Bread Food Bank on behalf of the bands playing that night. He concluded his speech with a reminder to please wear your masks while indoors, and to take care of one another. For those unaware, Solowoniuk had to take a step back from drumming with the band due to a multiple sclerosis relapse in 2016, so it always makes me really happy to see the different ways that he is still very much involved behind the scenes.
After Solowoniuk’s speech, the lights immediately went down as the opening riff of ‘Devil In A Midnight Mass’ began to fill the arena as the band came out on stage. Fans wasted no time, as it felt like an abundance of crowd surfers started to make their way to the front. The night was filled with a good mix of old and new songs. They played deep cuts like ‘Fallen Leaves’, ‘Rusted In The Rain’, and ‘River Below’, while also giving everyone the chance to finally hear songs like ‘Judged’ and ‘Reckless Paradise’ live. The latter two comes off of their new album Crisis of Faith which was just released on January 21st .
Growing up listening to Billy Talent, one thing that never fails to amaze me is how diverse their crowds are. A lot of artists seem to mainly fall into two groups: fans that grow with them, and fans that never seem to age. That has never been the case for Billy Talent. Everywhere you looked throughout the arena, you’d see anywhere from kids, to teens, to adults, and even older generations scattered amongst the venue singing along, moshing, and sporting BT merch. The fact that the band is able to captivate such an audience under one roof really cements the impact they have made and continue to make on the world around them.
As the night came to a close, Billy Talent left with a ‘BANG!’ as they closed out their homecoming with fan favourites ‘Try Honesty’, ‘Viking Death March’, and ‘Red Flag’. One thing that has really stuck with me from the show was seeing the audience’s reaction to the band closing out the set with ‘Red Flag’. I’ve seen them perform this song many times, but this time around felt like a whole different experience. From where I was sitting, it looked like the entire GA pit was one big wave moshing throughout and the fans singing along so loud that it felt like I could hear them more clearly than the band. It was the perfect way to end the night. You could tell that everyone was just extremely happy to see Billy Talent back at home, doing what they do best.
Note : The bands had also asked fans to bring a non-perishable food item to the shows in support of their local food banks as well as donating $1 of each ticket sale for the night. The show at Scotiabank Arena was in support of the Daily Bread Food Bank. If you weren’t able to attend and would like to help support them or volunteer with them, you can check out their website: https://www.dailybread.ca/
A list of all of the food banks that are supported for both the East and West Coast legs of the tour can be found on Billy Talent’s Instagram.
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Connect with NOBRO : Website || Instagram || Facebook || Twitter