Live Review: Biffy Clyro

They’ve done the graft, now time for the reward. Brixton Academy, London, Thursday, November 12

Tim Cochrane
Pic: Tim Cochrane
It’s taken 15 years for Biffy Clyro to arrive at this moment. Fifteen years of gruelling work, relentless touring and a stunning new album for Simon Neil to stand before Brixton Academy tonight, the adored frontman of a band on the brink of becoming something spectacular.
However, that doesn’t mean they’ve got it in the bag yet. Chart success may be secure (‘Only Revolutions’ charted at Number Eight) but mainstream appeal and subsequent longevity come with the risk of alienating fans. And since signing to a major label and hitting Number Two with ‘Puzzle’ in 2007, the Cult of Clyro has remained sceptical about output such as the huge, straight-edge anthem ‘Mountains’, hankering after the schizophrenic time signatures and visceral riffs of vintage Biff.

That leaves a lot of pressure on new material, a weight of expectation any fresh album could falter under, especially when having to hold its own next to a glorified greatest hits set. But such is the incredible balls-out quality of ‘Only Revolutions’, its tracks are not met with groans or folded arms but fully embraced as bona fide classics.The sheer, epic scale of ‘That Golden Rule’, a track that seems nearly too big for an opener, becomes so grandiose in its execution that it borders upon the cinematic. ‘Born On A Horse’ beefs up Marmaduke Duke’s funk while the aforementioned ‘Mountains’, for all its polished contention, has a chorus bigger than Birmingham. They’re all greatest hits already.

Obviously, familiar favourites such as ‘Who’s Got A Match?’ and the ever-creepy ‘9/15ths’ are always going to come out on top but the new live favourite stands to be ‘The Captain’. Simon Neil, by now shirtless and seemingly oblivious to the screams of teenage girls who “want your babies”, stands before the crowd conducting the resultant chants from the lyric “will somebody help me sing… woah-oh-oh-oh”. They duly oblige with nothing but loyalty and love. And obviously lust. Creepy, underage lust.

As they walk offstage tonight, sparks raining down, Top 10 album in the charts and with ‘’Mon The Biff!’ ringing in their ears, Biffy Clyro seem ready to take their place among the higher echelons of rock glory. One thing is for sure, there isn’t a band around who deserves it more.

Stephen Kelly

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