A vibrant buzz was in the air on Tuesday night in downtown Edmonton, and we’re not talkin’ Oilers buzz. Billy Talent, one of the city’s most favourite Canadian rock groups brought their genius to the Edmonton Convention Centre after a handful of pandemic-related rescheduling. The energy amongst the eager concertgoers of all ages seemed to build in the room as the minutes rolled down until Billy Talent’s 9 pm show time, greatly adding to the hype for what was about to take place.
Kicking the night off with NOBRO, the fellow Canadian femme-fatale punk rock group slammed Edmonton with a plethora of catchy, attitude-driven punk jams, resulting in an eruption of hoots and hollers from the audience on the floor below. Up next, Anti-Flag was not about to screw around with their set time. Quite literally leaping onto the stage, the Pittsburgh punk titans brought their A-game as they hammered through a hearty set of politically-fueled tunes, totally grabbing their Edmonton audience’s attention by the short and curlies and hanging on for dear life.
As that 9 o’clock hour rolled around, a wave of roars erupted from the audience as the house lights dimmed and former drummer of Billy Talent, Aaron Solowoniuk stepped on stage. He began by thanking Edmonton for being there tonight and disclosed to the 3,000+ people in the audience that he is stepping away from the band due to his life-long diagnosis of MS, and to pursue the band’s charitable efforts. He then explained the hardships of food scarcity in Canada, and then went on to explain how 1 dollar from every ticket sold for the event on Tuesday night would be donated to the Edmonton Food Bank.
As he exited the stage, the amps began to hum and the audience roared as each member of Billy Talent took their place on stage. Starting things off with a bang, the band slammed into “Devil in A Midnight Mass” causing a frenzy of singing voices to explode from those gathered in the room. The show lost zero steam as the chord-hammering melody of “This Suffering” came booming from the monitors soon after. Showing the utmost gratitude, and in traditional Canadian fashion, frontman Ben Kowalewicz genuinely thanked Edmonton for showing up tonight and reminded everyone that we’re all gathered to have fun and to lift each other up, which is exactly what Edmonton did.
Despite the fiasco of rescheduling, one would be hard-pressed to not find a smiling concertgoer in the room on Tuesday night. Between the sing-along melodies and the crowd’s ravenous hunger for more music, Billy Talent quite easily made up for the pandemics’ inconvenience; This performance just goes to show that they have been Canadian heroes for a very long time, and will remain Canadian heroes for a long time to follow.