Live. Biffy Clyro

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Live review. Biffy Clyro upstairs at the 250 capacity Paradiso, Amsterdam. Wednesday 28th November 2012.

Biffy Clyro undertook an intimate tour of Europe in the November of 2012 to make up for a year of neglect that also saw them road testing new material from their upcoming double release, Opposites, which is due out on January 28th 2013.

Stingin’ Belle soundtracked the return of Biffy Clyro back in July and once again announced their arrival, bringing the evenings proceedings to a shuddering start. Extended to the verge of ridiculous, Stingin’ Belle provided the churning punch to an evening that saw the Ayrshire trio leap headlong into new material, using more current releases as a springboard to garner the dizzying height that they now command.

Biffy is a band proud of their heritage, with all five albums getting represented. Bolstered by two additional members, Mike Vennart and Gambler of Oceansize/British Theatre no less, Biffy Clyro finally have the musical firepower to attack their back catalogue with the grand, playful spirit that it undoubtedly deserves. 27 was allowed to fly atop exploding ferocity, Liberate The Illiterate transformed into a textured fifty shades of rock and Strung To Your Ribcage carried enough bulk behind it to equal the triangular vocal powerhouse that it’s always demanded. A stutteringly glorious Hope For An Angel started the encore with atmospheric whisperings and collapsing swings that reverberated with total annihilation.

There have been murmurs of late that Biffy has forgotten their history, instead shifting into little more than a pop band, dishing up perfectly formed slices of accessible pie. These murmurs are wrong. While the six songs aired at the Paradiso may be amongst the catchiest Biffy have ever written, they’re also the most brutal. The middle eight breakdown in Black Chandelier, the extended, looping riff at the close of Stingin’ Belle and the crashing final moments of Victory Over The Sun are all fuelled by furious, unrelenting bite, with enough passionate energy to send a baying crowd upwards in a discordant eruption of physical appreciation. Even Sounds Like Balloons drops its polished sheen and becomes a dizzying mix of pop sensibilities and snarling thumps.

The new songs sound undeniably whole and well rounded, with time taken to layer them with delicate nuances and intricate backgrounds. The Joke’s On Us now revels in it’s reach, a dark smirk beneath it’s shiny exterior while Modern Magic Formula is unrelenting in it’s desire for a good time.

There’s a problem with the new songs sounding so monstrous though, and it’s one that really comes to light in intimate venues. The arena conquering anthems that littered Only Revolutions sound hollow and flat without the buoyancy provided by a thousand extra voices. God & Satan, Bubbles and Many Of Horror all come across as unfinished, the reliance of mass compliance has left them crippled and unloved.

Seeing Biffy Clyro in an intimate venue like the Paradiso in Amsterdam was incredible, however they’re just to big for venues like that now. The lack of space hindered rather than intensified as their sound and stage presence dwarfed the room. However, the new songs are phenomenal, the old songs are refreshingly superb and the powerhouse tracks from Puzzle and Only Revolutions still pack a surprising punch.  With the help of the additional musicians, Biffy have finally become the band they’ve whispered at; A genuine, uncompromising beast of a group, dominating and trampling as they ascend to their rightful place.

 

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~ by justdip on 05/12/2012.

One Response to “Live. Biffy Clyro”

  1. I agree. In the States, they only play tiny venues like that, and while it’s great, they’re definitely more powerful in a bigger venue. It just isn’t the same.

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