“I’ve started falling apart, I’m not savouring life,” sings Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil to the hollering full-capacity crowd at London’s O2 Kentish Town Forum during the tender ‘Machines’. “I’ve forgotten how good it could be to feel alive”. It was a lyric originally penned to reflect the frontman’s sadness at the passing of his mother, but it tonight it feels like it’s been re-appropriated to capture the spirit of this whole tour.
Fittingly titled the ‘Fingers Crossed tour’, this run of shows sees the Scottish rock behemoths and usual arena-fillers and festival headliners playing in intimate theatre venues, many of which they haven’t visited in over a decade. It was originally intended for April 2021, which was by then to be a long overdue victory lap for their acclaimed 2020 album ‘A Celebration Of Endings’.
In the time since, they’ve released the follow-up record ‘The Myth Of The Happily After’; a more expansive and experimental record that better captures the highs, lows, confusion and lessons of the last couple of years. Now feels like the optimum time to share it with the world. More often than not, the crowd’s collective voice drowns out the whole band. It’s clear they couldn’t be hungrier for tonight either.
As the band open with the heavenly and spectral ‘DumDum’ for their latest record, the audience’s deafening delivery of the chorus – “This is how we fuck it from the start” – may give you the impression they’ve been living with this song for years, rather than for less than a fortnight. Neil remains largely stationary for the track, but when recent single ‘A Hunger In Your Haunt’ kicks off, and he’s anything but. Tonight’s set vents the energy of recent times by being a perfect exercise in tension and release.
From the stadium sing-along of ‘Biblical’ through into the sci-fi wonky-rock of ‘Errors In The History Of God’ – complete with its endless, teasing, jarring outro – it seems they’re hell-bent on showcasing every shade of Biffy at breakneck speed; from the nuanced to the sledgehammer. There’s no time for a single breath between between the rave-y ‘Instant History’ and the triumphant ‘Mountains’, and we challenge you to find a more contrasting combo than the heartfelt balladry of ‘Space’ bursting into the techno-tinged and totally insane ‘Slurpy Splurpy Sleep Sleep’ – essentially a prog epic without the wankery. “This song is the exact opposite of that song,” says a very knowing Neil, introducing the following romantic outing of ‘Re-Arrange’.
“Thank you so much for coming 18 months late,” Neil says at one point, “we had to postpone it for some reason… I’ve missed your wonderful faces”. Judging by the feral reaction saved for the immaculate ‘Living Is a Problem Because Everything Dies’ and ‘Bubbles’, you sense everyone’s been dreaming of a gig like this. “One question,” smirks Neil. “Love everybody? Fuck everybody?…Fuck everybody!” he realises, teasing the chorus of the runaway train closer of ‘Cop Syrup’ – an ode to ignoring the naysayers and going your own way.
Don’t mind if we do – as long as we can do this again soon. Tonight, the band give everything you’d want from a Biffy Clyro gig and everything you could ask for from a rock show experience. Hopefully this state of being lasts, but for now it feels so good to be back.
Biffy Clyro played:
‘A Hunger in Your Haunt’
‘Tiny Indoor Fireworks’
‘Errors in the History of God’
‘North of No South’
‘That Golden Rule’
‘Unknown Male 01’
‘Machines’ (Simon solo acoustic)
‘The Pink Limit’
‘Wolves of Winter’
‘Slurpy Slurpy Sleep Sleep’
‘Living Is a Problem Because Everything Dies’
‘Many of Horror’