Support: City And Colour
Ok so here are two things I never knew until this week:
1) Biffy Clyro formed in 1995. Yes they were calling themselves ‘Skrewfish’ and the rather brilliant ‘Kuntozoid Spamcocky’ before settling on their now more familiar name but it is true that the Scottish trio of Simon Neil, and twins James and Ben Johnston started out playing together when they were just young teens. Fast forward eighteen years and the band, still only in their early thirties, now have six studio albums under their belts
2) Very few of my friends and family seem to know who the hell Biffy Clyro are. ‘Biffy Who’ been the common answer. This is only bettered by my father-in-law who can’t understand how a band can be called ‘James’
The majority of gigs I go to these days are artists that I have seen many times before. I probably have a list of twenty or so artists that I will see again and again given a favourable bank balance, the time and most importantly of all…being arsed. Biffy are a brand new one for me having never seen them live. I have to admit it does give a certain sense of the unknown tonight. Well I say the unknown, I am an avid follower of setlist.fm and so I had a pretty good idea of what they were going to play. As a result it was no surprise when new track Different People opens the showwith Simon walking out alone with guitar in hand…the song builds and builds and gradually the colourful stage set up is shown…the curtain comes down and the buzzing, 'getting drunk because it's the day before Good Friday and it's not possible to get alcohol in Ireland after 12 tonight unless you are staying in a hotel or waiting to travel at the airport', crowd are set for the night.
There is a third thing I learnt this week. Biffy Clyro have a very young following; a very young and very pissed following; a very young, a very pissed and a very loud following. That isn’t a criticism. In fact the gig tonight had one of the best atmospheres I have heard at the O2 Arena. You know it’s a good crowd when the whole standing area is bouncing as one as they were for second song, That Golden Rule. Biffy don’t just do great mosh pit songs though as the, almost, title track of the new album shows. The harmonies they are able to reproduce live on Opposite are quite brilliant. Living is a Problem Because Everything Dies is Simon’s ‘Angus Young’ moment with song intro to match. Biblical is great, God and Satan is superb and the crowd just keep singing and jumping. Marvellous stuff.
The energy put into the show is such that the twins get a break when Simon sings Machines acoustically on one of the walkways. The crowd, who seem to know every single word, sing it back in style…except me as I don’t know many lyrics to a lot of the songs. I guiltily have my hands in the air though while opening my mouth so that it looks like I know what I am singing. If anyone could actually hear me then they would know that I was not making any noise at all. I am so used to knowing the words inside out because usually I have seen a band at least five or six times before and often grown up with their music. Thinking about it Biffy Clyro probably gave me a much needed kick up the arse tonight and in doing so blew me away with their energy and freshness.
One very slight criticism is maybe, just maybe, they played a few songs too many. The two hour show was magnificent but if they chopped fifteen minutes off the middle section then this would be near perfect. That really is trivial though so I should shut up (before I get abuse off the Biffy collective). Many Of Horror has survived the X-Factor mauling well and the crowd have the lighters out (even a few IPhone Lighters...someone actually made an app out of that?!) and the quite superb,, The Captain finishes the main set. The band come back for a three song encore of Skylight, Stingin’ Belle with the anthemic Mountains last which is fitting for me as it is that song, released in 2008, that made me sit up and take notice of this band. I love an anthem; a lot of the bands I love have an anthemic sound and I very much include Biffy Clyro in that category
I wasn’t the only one to learn something this week. My wife, who didn’t know much about the band before the gig, soon realised she fancied Simon Neil when she saw him on stage. The twins however…not so much. The ‘shirts off’ look helped though and there is something of the Chilli Peppers in Biffy Clyro; shirts off and losing themselves in the music. They looked so into it and Dublin, as always, gave back in style. It helps when a band puts so much effort in with a very healthy 26 songs played tonight. All but 4 taken from the last 3 albums. All the long players are represented though which is something they may find hard to do in the future as they become more and more successful…because even my friends and family won’t be saying ‘Biffy Who’ then.
Ticket: March 28th 2013
Ticket Price: €36.50