Scot rockers Biffy Clyro‘s fifth record, Only Revolutions, is almost upon release. With the critical acclaim last album Puzzle received, the trio have a lot to live up to. Riding into Newcastle, they bring along Pulled Apart By Horses and Manchester Orchestra along for the ride, for a sold out and eagerly anticipated show.
Openers Pulled Apart By Horses prove to be a rather unnecessary yet strangely catchy start to the nights proceedings. Playing what can only be described as rock with some punch, instrumentally, they sound like any other band doing the rounds, but it’s in vocalist Tom Hudson that their “unique” selling point comes into play. Rasping and yelping like a man on fire, it doesn’t seem to fare too well with the crowd, who stay silently still and offer little more than polite applause when the band finally make their way off-stage. However, each to their own, if you like this kind of music, it’s fair to say the quartet played well – they were tight, in sync, and made a hell of a lot of racket.
Yanks Manchester Orchestra take to the stage next, and it’s only once they get going that you notice they have two drummers. (Keyboardist Chris Freeman doubling up with a kit placed behind him) The band sound huge tonight; every thing’s turned up to eleven, as they play out their inoffensive brand of loud, melodic indie rock.
Things can get a little tedious after a while, however, and with each song sounding like a lifetime, it’s fair to say their novelty wears thin and ultimately bores, the further the set draws out, even with vocalist Andy Hull producing ear-piercing screams out of nowhere from time to time. As musicians though, the band are spot on. They can certainly play their songs very well, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them move on to big things if they catch on over in the UK, and it’s shown by the massive applause and cheer that greets them at the end of their set – Manchester Orchestra have obviously won a lot of fans tonight.
With Only Revolutions just days from release and receiving rave reviews, it’s only fair that Biffy Clyro take to the stage with such high expectations from the crowd. Throwing themselves in at the deep end of the rock pool first, they don’t disappoint. Recent single That Golden Rule sounds superb – it’s crunchy, catchy, and finds frontman Simon Neil‘s singing in fine form. The audience reacts well to it too, the room that has stood still the entire night now erupting into chaos. Everyone loves the bewildering Living Is A Problem… intro from 2006’s Puzzle, and it, too, generates a hefty amount of uproar. So, comes the line where it’s liable to say the band let their music do the talking, but sadly it’s a case of playing song, after song, after song. Hardly any banter for a band like Biffy Clyro gets slightly boring after a while.
Their music and playing however, is sublime. 57 sounds perfect, and songs like brilliant, pipe driven new single The Captain get the room in full swing, while the brash Who’s Got A Match? pogos the bands audience through the floor, almost literally. It’s a pity that Biffy still seem to be relying on their latter two albums for most of their cheers; any numbers from their older records receive little to no attention and hardly and sing-a-longs, which seems slightly discouraging. Still, when tonight’s crowd sing along, they do it in style, acting like a couple of thousand-strong vocal choir. With over twenty songs in tonight’s set, the band have definitely given their crowd their moneys worth, finishing on a great rendition of Mountains, even if it is a somewhat bewildering closer.
They make a hell of a lot of noise for just three men from Ayrshire, but their charisma might need that extra kick up the arse, if they’re going to put on the best show they can. They can hardly be faulted further though, a great performance.
– George Cannings.
Only Revolutions is released November 9th. See http://www.myspace.com/biffyclyro for more details, and to hear the album streamed in its entirety streamed.