Emotional headline set from Biffy Clyro closes first day of Isle of Wight Festival

Friday bill also brings performances from Calvin Harris, Anna Calvi and Katy B

Isle Of Wight festival got off to a scorching start yesterday (June 13) thanks to sweltering conditions and a fire-strewn headline set from Biffy Clyro.

A curtain of fire erupted across the stage for ‘Biblical’, confetti cannons went off during an early ‘The Captain’ and ‘Many Of Horror’ was met with a huge flume of ribbons. The spectacular show also featured the band wielding hand-held strobe lights during ‘Glitter And Trauma’ and firework fountains for ‘Bubbles’ and the closing ‘Mountains’.

Biffy then opened with ‘Different People’ and ‘That Golden Rule’ before the pyrotechnics erupted for ‘The Captain’. “That’s what we’re fucking talking about,” Simon Neil said as ‘Folding Stars’ continued a set consisting largely of every single they’ve released since 2007, bar ‘Opposites’. The rampage of hits was interspersed with two solo acoustic segments from a heavily-bearded Neil for ‘Machines’ and ‘God & Satan’, Simon asking the crowd “are you ready to do some serious singing?”

The set seemed an emotional one for the band as they thanks Isle Of Wight for their support and gave an emotive closing speech that left Simon joking “that was a bit Jerry fucking Springer”.

Biffy Clyro played:

‘Different People’
‘That Golden Rule’
‘The Captain’

‘Sounds Like Balloons’
‘Folding Stars’
‘Living Is a Problem Because Everything Dies’
‘Saturday Superhouse’
‘Victory Over the Sun’
‘God & Satan’ (Simon solo acoustic)
‘Glitter and Trauma’
‘Who’s Got a Match?’
‘Many of Horror’
‘Woo Woo’
‘Black Chandelier’
‘Machines’ (Simon solo acoustic)
‘Stingin’ Belle’

Earlier, a tousle-haired Anna Calvi had played a stirring set in the Big Top tent, dipping into both of her albums and featuring some virtuoso classical electric guitar. More recent tracks such as ‘Cry’ and ‘Eliza’ seemed more drenched in emotion than impressive but theatrical early singles like ‘Blackout’, Calvi embracing a PJ Harvey-style passion.

Also in the Big Top, B>The Polyphonic Spree delivered a set of characteristic jubilance, covering The Monkees’ ‘Porpoise Song’ and Wings’ ‘Live And Let Die’ between orchestral cult-pop favourites such as ‘Section Nine (Light & Day/Reach For The Sun)’ and ‘Section Fourteen (Two Thousand Places)’. Singer Tim DeLaughter unveiled the band, all in patterned robes, by writing ‘LOVE UNDER A FULL MOON!’ onto a white sheet stretched across the front of the stage and then cutting through it, and closed the set by climbing into the crowd and making everyone sit down during ‘Section Eight (Soldier Girl)’.

With Calvin Harris bringing the main stage line-up to a close with a firework and smoke flume-heavy set of dancefloor drops including his remix of The Killers’ ‘When You Were Young’, Katy B closed the day in the Big Top with a rapturously received set of inventive pop taking in “the song that started me on my mission” – ‘Katy On A Mission’ – the expansive soul ‘Still’, her new single ‘Aaliyah’ dedicated to the tragic R&B star, and a cover of Baby D’s 1994 Number One ‘Let Me Be Your Fantasy’. The set veered from emotive soul ballad ‘Crying For No Reason’ to pop hit ‘Next Thing’ and ‘Easy Please Me’.

The festival continues today (June 14) with a headline set from Red Hot Chili Peppers and appearances from The Specials, The 1975 and John Newman.