My friend Brett asks me if I like Billy Talent because he's going to see them in LA and wants me to come with. I hesitate. I like Brett. I like free stuff; more specifically, I like the free booze to be had backstage at money punk shows (when punk kids get rich, they buy a lot of good beer, see). I'm not working the gig, and maybe I'd like to do something else, but I sigh and agree because I am a kind, friendly soul—and because maybe Billy Talent deserve the benefit of the doubt.
After all, the band seem to know their place in the world: their song "Where is the Line" includes the lyrics "Urban hipster, the new gangster, frontin' by the club/New wave mannequins packin' haircuts, instead of packin' guns/Magazines from overseas won't teach you how to feel/They trade in their hearts for indie-rock charts to tell them what is real." There's so much more. I wish this was a feature. Most groups of their pop-punk genus don't really get that oftentimes, the joke is on them, that their Amazon status isn't indicative of a worthy contribution to the punk rock canon, or into the hearts of fans who have been collecting records and reading zines and making tapes since they were in diaper school. That song inspired hilario-hardcore band Fucked Up to proclaim a beef with Billy Talent, and it inspired me to be like, "Hey, Takes It Too Seriouslies, maybe take your massive budgets and audiences into consideration and do something more fun with it than making the most generic dog-food music ever."
Fuck the race war: I'm waiting for the culture war, when the kids in the middle going, "Guys, guys, seriously, it's all music, relax" get trampled into bloody tatters by the opposing sides. That would be pretty punk rock.
Billy Talent with Cancer Bats and Drive By at the Glass House, 200 W. Second St., Pomona, (909) 865-3802; www.theglasshouse.us. Sat., 7 p.m. $12. All ages.