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Its a packed crowd that awaits Biffy Clyro in the Fabrique, Milan’s relatively new concert venue. A crowd made up mainly of 20-30ish boys and girls confirm a growing new audience appeal for the Scottish band that first got together over 20 years ago. Unbelievably Biffy are to play the famous San Remo Italian Musical festival this week, a TV showcase for new and generally very old Italian artists; very very formal and pompous it is too. If they take their shirts off and unveil in all their glory, the countless tattoos of their still youthful and graceful bodies as they do tonight it would be so wonderful but Biffy are evidently having to learn, deal with and adapt to mainstream success so I am not so sure.
Simon Neil and the brothers Johnston, Ben and James made a name for themselves on the live circuit as a tight but explosive band with energy and adrenalin highs that consumed and ignited audiences in the British Isles. Their songs, anthemic with wonderful choruses and delightful time changes have no time for solos or complicated musicianship but they have spirit and melody. The wonderful ‘Puzzle’ and ‘Only Revolutions’ albums led to more notoriety such now they even play live with unannounced guitarist and keyboard player to add more textures needed to play the more mainstream songs and I suppose to reach the expanding pop audience after the 2013 ‘Opposites’ release and the new album ‘Ellipsis’.
Everything that makes Biffy Clyro great on stage is still in the melting pot but it’s inevitable that those wonderful ragged edges and a certain looseness in terms of “letting go” has faded somewhat. The last two albums make up over 2/3ds of the set such that when they unexpectedly play ‘57’, it’s almost unrecognizable as the full band sound takes away that quaintness and rawness that only a three piece band can exploit. But the crowd are enthusiastic to hear the solid ‘Wolves of Winter’, the hit single ‘Re-Arrange’ ‘Sounds Like Balloons’ ‘Black Chandelier’, whilst for me the highlights are ‘The Captain’ always magnificent, a superb ‘In The Name Of The Wee Man’, and ‘Mountains’ which gets everybody but everybody singing.
Biffy Clyro deserve every accolade and success that they have achieved and will attain because their passion for the live stage and their application is “true” and that is always the bottom line. Maybe after this year’s juggernaut journey into popularity, they might like to try and sit back and not take the expected highway to fame that so many good bands in the last decade seems to have sold their soul to.
I believe Biffy Clyro are made of stronger stuff and can still surprise the rock world by delving deeper into their past songs that might inspire and evolve the band, leading them and their older solid fan base into more enchanting new adventures .
Wolves of Winter
Living Is a Problem Because Everything Dies
Sounds Like Balloon
Victory Over the Sun
On a Bang
God & Satan
Friends and Enemies
Glitter and Trauma
In the Name of the Wee Man
That Golden Rule
Many of Horror