Billy Whizz

That Billy Talent are on a roll right now is undeniable, after an excellent debut album they followed it with a well received second album and a storming performance at Download, so it's little surprise that they get a good sized crowd in the biggest of the Academy venues.

Unfortunately I miss opener 'This Is How It Goes' due to Manchester Academy having the worst bar in the country without exception, staffed by sloths and gormless idiots, the serving times were a total joke. Anyway, rant over and back to the action; recent single 'Devil in a Midnight Mass' had the crowd going wild early on and from then onwards it was a pretty stunning first half-hour. 'Line and Sinker' sounds fantastic tonight and sees the influx of many a crowd surfer, they follow it with 'Cut the Curtains' and it's clear that Billy Talent are an excellent live band, the performance is highly visual and animated and bursting with energy.

With such strong songs to call on there were bound to be a number of highlights and the first of these came with a blistering rendition of 'The Ex', after that though it all goes a bit flat for a while and the between song banter is pretty woeful, you know the sort "we all need to respect each other...". Once I stop yawning at singer Ben Kowalewicz's words of wisdom (sic), I reflect that the problem with high energy bands like Billy Talent is that for half an hour or even forty five minutes they are quite fantastic. If you saw them at Download this year you'll know exactly what I mean, when they go over this time though they can't help but lose some of the impact.

It's all forgotten though as 'Sympathy' brings the set right up to date before the always great 'Standing in the Rain' (and what a fantastic chorus that song has!). They save up some of the best tunes until the end, finishing the initial set with 'River Below' before returning for a great encore of 'Red Flag', 'Surrender' and the massive 'Try Honesty'. Billy Talent have been a breath of fresh air in a tired scene, they've taken all that's good about melodic punk and put their own unique twist on it. Minor niggles aside they've proved tonight they they're here for the long haul and they have the strength in depth to pull it off. Needless to say the crowd loved every minute.

This and the London show were recorded live and sold to punters just ten minutes after the gig finished but if you didn't manage to pick up a copy of the show then fear not. If you happen to peruse a certain band's message forum you might just find a useful link to erm... something ... but you didn't hear that from me!