Billy Talent, Sum 41 – Live (July 19th, 2011)

  • Bobby Gorman posted
  • Reviews

Billy Talent, Sum 41

Live (July 19th, 2011) - Vogue Theatre - Vancouver, BC

Having just moved to Vancouver, I’m still getting used to all the venues and most concerts see me going to a new venue for the first time. This was the case for Tuesday’s Friends Helping Friends benefit show featuring Sum 41 and Billy Talent at the historic Vogue Theatre.  Originally built as a movie theatre back in 1941, the venue still has the classical look and feel to it and – sadly – all the movie theatre seats too. This makes moving around for a show like this rather difficult if you’re one of those who like to go deep into a pit.

The crowd didn’t let the seats get in their way though as Sum 41 and Billy Talent tore through their hour long sets.  With all proceeds from the evening going to Xavier, the young son of a friend and co-worker of both bands who was diagnosed in August 2010 with neuroblastoma stage IV, the 3rd most common paediatric cancer after leukemia and brain tumours; the bands split the evening with a co-headlining bill of two of Canada’s biggest acts.

Sum 41 took to the stage first and riled the crowd up (one of those aforementioned chairs got destroyed mere seconds into the first song). With a surprisingly even set list, the band didn’t focus all their energy on Screaming Bloody Murder tracks but sprinkled the love out over their full catalogue – minus Half Hour Of Power that didn’t make a single appearance.  It tended to be their older songs that got the best reaction – Fat Lip, In Too Deep, Over My Head(Better Off Dead), We’re All To Blame – but a few newer ones (Reason To Believe, Skumfuk) were able to hold their own as well.

The foursome were poised and confident, with Deryck Whibley taking a cue from Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrongby making the crowd eat out of his hands. This effect has its ups and downs, it can be entertaining but it also feels so very scripted and takes away from the flow of the performance. It can be even more annoying for those who have seen Sum 41before, as I remember Whibley going through the same motions back in 2003. Plus, the start of close to half a dozen metal songs before finally settling on a Metallica cover of Master of Puppets was just cheesy.

After a thirty-some minute change over, Billy Talent took the stage for the first time in Vancouver since the Olympics.  Unlike Sum 41Billy Talent don’t have a scripted stage show or even a stage backdrop. Instead, they keep it simple and squeeze as many songs as they can into their time slot – only stopping to talk to give updates on their new album (90% written), to thank the volunteers for donating their time for the benefit and to mock Vancouverites for the Canucks Riot in the playoffs.  This, while maybe not always as entertaining, feels more real then anything scripted ever could be.

The band were as solid as ever, playing through Devil On My Shoulder, Rusted From The Rain, Diamond On A Landmine, turn Your Back, Fallen Leaves, Surrender, Devil In A Midnight Mass, River Below, Voices of Violence, How It Goes and a few more. They ended the set with a raucous rendition of Red Flag and simply left, refusing to come back for an encore which added so much more to the set. Nothing could have ended it better than Red Flag, so an encore would’ve just dampened the power of the night.

As a whole, the night was a success. The sound was superb (seriously, The Vogue Theatre may have the best sound system I have ever heard), the cause was good, and both bands put on a great show. Plus, for any of the older fans there who grew up with Sum 41 and Billy Talent, the night was a push of nostalgia; and that nostalgia element made the night’s show a perfect bridge into my new hometown.