Billy Talent and Anti-Flag at Sound Academy, Toronto – Gig Review and Photos

October 13, 2013
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Billy Talent at Sound Academy, Toronto, 12 October 2013 - photo Jackie Hong, MusicVice.com

Who: Billy Talent and Anti-Flag
Where: Sound Academy, Toronto
When: Saturday 12 October 2013
One word: Kickass

Canadian rockers Billy Talent hit up the Sound Academy last night with friends Anti-Flag to deliver a fantastic, sold-out show in honour of the 10th anniversary of the Mississauga-natives’ self-titled first album and Anti-Flag’s 20th anniversary of being in the punk scene.

Anti-Flag kicked off the show with a 45-minute set filled with their signature political-themed anthems like “Fuck Police Brutality” and “Die For Your Government.” The punk outfit are one of those bands that sound good on record, but even better live – every song was grittier and angrier, which made the messages even more powerful. On top of that, every couple of songs, lead singer and guitarist Justin Sane or bassist and singer Chris #2 (Chris Barker) would talk about things like taking a stand against racism, homophobia and sexism, and raising minimum wage. They were met with loud cheers of support. Another highlight of the set was the band’s cover of The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” What was most impressive though was Anti-Flag’s performance was the level of audience interaction: Sane and Chris #2 had the crowd in the palm of their hands, getting them to sing, dance, open up a circle pit and raise their hands on command.

Anti-Flag at Sound Academy, Toronto, 12 October 2013 - photo Jackie Hong, MusicVice.com

The crowd got even crazier (and a lot rougher) when Billy Talent took the stage. The band played for close to an hour and a half, powering through their entire first album and then coming back for two encores where they sampled the rest of their discography. Throughout their set, the band gave shout-outs to their friends, family and other bands who’ve supported them throughout the years. Lead singer Benjamin Kowalewicz dropped jokes only Torontonians would get, like dedicating “Lies” to Rob Ford and promising that the Leafs would win the Stanley Cup this year. Kowealewicz also thanked the audience for still believing in rock music even though the radio tends to play “that wimpy beard banjo shit.” Although their entire set sounded incredible, two songs that really stuck out were “Nothing to Lose,” the only song that saw the audience calm down for a bit, and “Red Flag,” the show-closer that featured Anti-Flag’s Chris #2 coming back on stage to join in on vocals.

This was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to: a killer band pairing, awesome fan-favourite set lists and great energy. Billy Talent and Anti-Flag will only be playing together for four more shows (two in Montreal and two in Quebec City), but if you missed last night’s, it’ll be worth the trip to see them on the same stage. Otherwise, try to catch Billy Talent with whoever else they’re playing with for their 10th anniversary tour – it’s a hell of a show you don’t want to miss.

© Jackie Hong, Music Vice

Photos by Jackie Hong, Music Vice:

Internet links:
Anti-Flag
Billy Talent

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