Hipster Flowby Cassandra Rowley / 18.08.2010
Drowning in a sea of moving adolescent bodies – I’m awaiting the release of a build up of excitement. A build up that’s been building up for days already. It happens in the moment the crowd meets the opening of “A Devil in a Midnight Mass” with a roar. This is going to be absolutely mind-blowing. I’m glad I ignored all those “too cool for Billy Talent” hipster whispers.
Sure Talent’s new Billy Talent III may have lost them early fans, but true believers were never going to pass up a very reasonably-priced gig – showcasing a band that lives on their IPod and got them through high school. Nostalgia aside – Billy did more than take you back, they showed us how to get epic, up close.
Some b(l)and from Australia opened with a drummer who looks like Bill Cosby. Their sound is perfect for that late festival slot when most people have gone home. Dancers up front did their best to the chilled twee summer-afternoon beats, or was it the bloodstream kick of those R30 double Vodka Monster concoctions on sale?
Then Taxi Violence erupted. At last some sweet ass rock and roll after some tone deaf tool put on somnolent faux-blues smoothie John Mayer between sets. Suddenly Van Coke Kartel appear. And suck. They’re tiresome. One dimensional bellowing. Maybe the only good thing about them being here is to remind us we’re in South Africa – so when a “big overseas band” like Billy Talent arrives on our shores we ought to be grateful.
At last Billy Talent – Canadian super group – gets to own the stage. How about a double dose of awesome? Yes please! They liberally sprinkle rad all over the next two hours. Hits and all-time faves bounce off the walls. I sway blissfully to “Surrender” then jump around like my Converse are on fire to the careening frenetic pulse of “Line and Sinker”. There was even a culturally resonant moment in there somewhere when I notice blank sideline kids just there to look cool – and feel my own happy distance from them – feel the clear distinction between true Billy fans and the posers. Proclaim your joy, fools! Live a little. Real fans would’ve killed for a ticket.
After the amazing climactic closer “Red Flag” – building and crashing in waves of infectious delight -the band is gone. Just instruments in the stage light. The after picture. I’m left 8 miles high. Euphoric. Grinning like an animal that grins. A hyena. You know how you feel after the countdown to midnight at a drunken New Year’s Eve party? That warm loose wildness. Where all you can do is embrace the stranger next to you. That’s me after the show. Thank whoever, I didn’t go with the hipster flow. You missed a great show.
*Image © Cassandra Rowley