Approaching winter down under, it was predictably crisp in Melbourne this past Wednesday night as approximately 700 people waited to enter The Hi-Fi Bar and Ballroom, to see Scottish Alt-Rockers Biffy Clyro strut their stuff. While I know some gig attendees prefer to be surprised with who are supporting the headline act, this night proved why I am exactly the opposite. Unannounced, local post-rock quartet These Hands Could Separate the Sky appeared and proceeded to open up with a 10 minute instrumental. Considering Biffy Clyro’s newfound gain in popularity, the support could not have been more poorly chosen. I am definitely no post-rock expert, so these guys could have been the greatest band of all time for all I knew. However, the fit was bad and the lukewarm response they received proved it.
Following a rather long tuning session of all instruments by 2 roadies, the Scottish trio finally arrived on stage to anything but a lukewarm reaction. Raucous is a more appropriate description as Biffy Clyro tore straight into my #4 song of 2009; ‘That Golden Rule’. Even more energetic and frantic than the studio version, the symphonic finale was barely missed since the guys worked like a well-oiled machine all night to produce a stunning musical accompaniment to Simon Neil’s rapid-fire, pleading howls. For the following hour and a half, one could not help but be extremely impressed by the front man’s ability to pull off all kinds of sounds on his multitude of guitars, while also singing away as if his life depended on it. In fact, much respect should go to the band for playing these 21 songs as if they were an unknown band who had just released their debut LP.
While the setlist (see end of blog) admittedly lent towards ‘Puzzle’ and ‘Only Revolutions’ a little too much, Biffy Clyro are far from the mainstream rock band that many would lead you to believe that they are. Sure, the photo-shoot at the top of this page suggests so, but have a look at the scruffy beard and shaggy dog fringe that Simon took out on stage. Between-song banter was kept to a minimum (partially due to the thick Scottish accents) and it is an under-statement to suggest the trio produce one hell of a loud racket. And let’s not forget the human art show that Simon is, immediately appearing with no shirt on, and occasionally showcasing some plumbers crack!
Scruffiness and tattoos aside, this night was all about the music… And on that basis, Biffy Clyro blew Melbourne away. From the unpredictably fabulous ‘Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies’ to the sing-along ‘Mountains’, and from the decade old ‘Justboy’ to the call and response acoustic harmonies of ‘Machines’, Neil and the Johnston twins hardly put a foot wrong on stage. Furthermore, with five albums behind them, they now have a quality set with genuine depth that they can call upon to easily fill 90 minutes. In fact, the only reason they do not play any longer is that this trio do not call on any help throughout their show; no additional guitarist or keys/synth players… Just 3 guys rocking the fu*k out until sweat is flying everywhere. Thoroughly recommended, Biffy Clyro are a rock band that put on an exceptional live show… In fact, it is right up there with the best that I have seen… EVER!