Music review: Biffy Clyro, SECC, Glasgow
Tuesday 02 April 2013
Ayrshire trio Biffy Clyro, once staunch exponents of an enduring kind of heads-down, shirt-off rock simplicity, have – both on their new album Opposites, a first UK number one for the group, and within this supporting arena tour – been invested with the typical urge of mid-career and relentlessly successful rock artists to make things a lot more complicated.
Where their last two albums’ well-wrought artisan edge was defiantly Celtic in flavour and enough to bring them substantial crossover success, this time out the spiny, big-budget Yggdrasil of a tree which grows through the centre of two massive screens and doubles as a raised podium hints at ambitions on the more epic scale of Norse gods of rock.
It’s fair to say that while the new double album occasionally trips and stumbles on its own lofty ambition, the live arena is the perfect setting to hear it as it was intended – loud and responded to with predictable uproar by the thousands-strong capacity homecoming crowd. Relatively early on in the set, when singer and guitarist Simon Neil had preceded recent single “Biblical” with the exhortation that “’this is a rock ‘n’ roll show, so everyone get on your f*cking feet,” the command was listened to and followed by all those in the seating banks fringing the hall.
The two-hour set was bottom-heavy with new material, including the comeback single “Black Chandelier” and “Biblical” itself, soon segueing into the still-unexpected African guitar stylings of “Spanish Radio” and the stand-out sonic wind tunnel effect of “The Thaw”. So far so powerful, although Neil’s resolute solo acoustic takes on “God & Satan” and “Machines” (chorused back as if the crowd were desperate to snatch the words from his mouth) signalled a change of pace which brought an already-simmering show to boiling point.
“Glitter & Trauma” pulsed in on a volley of red lasers and an almost club-ready 4/4 beat, and from there the gig thundered to a finale, its three main protagonists (Neil and brothers James and Ben Johnston on bass and drums) all typically bare-chested, in stark contrast to the fully-clothed pianist and second guitarist lurking in the shadows. That the uninspiring “The Joke’s On Us” and the agreeable glam of “Picture a Knife Fight” didn’t satisfy in the same way as epic (and X-Factor-surviving) ballad “Many of Horror” or the swaggering anthemics of “Mountains” seemed unimportant in this context.
Had Nirvana survived to smooth off their darker edges for an arena audience, this is surely what they would sound like.
film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Three-year-old boy shoots pregnant mother and father in New Mexico
- 2 Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
- 3 Jewish community urged to boycott Cornwall village after residents vote for 'Hitlers Walk' sign to be reinstated
- 4 Benedict Cumberbatch's Alan Turing gay-rights campaign snubbed by Prince William and Kate Middleton
- 5 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Daniel Radcliffe deemed 'not marketable' without his English accent
Gorillaz Phase 4: Cartoon supergroup is back as new artwork is unveiled
Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
As Better Call Saul launches, here are the other spin-off shows we need to see
Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
President Putin is a dangerous psychopath - reason is not going to work with him
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign