With the stage set, support act City and Colour thank the crowd and tell them to enjoy the rest of the night. It’s clear though from the chants of “Mon The Biffy” that the audience are already doing so and as bare-chested front-man Simon Neil appears on stage followed by band-mates James and Ben Johnston, the arena erupts into a deafening roar of applause and cheering that doesn’t settle down for the duration of the band’s two hour performance.
And for good reasons as well. The Scottish rock trio managed to gain a loyal fan-base during their first three defiantly alternative albums that have stuck by them. As well as this, there are the fans who discovered the band after the boys came across a classic stadium rock formula that has served them well with some top 40 singles in addition to their number 1 album Opposites. Some have called the band sell outs, most likely caused by X Factor winner Matt Cardle’s cover of their ballad Many of Horror but any band that’s decided to perform in a packed arena rather than a gloomy club has faced this issue at least once in their lifetime.
Despite all the mainstream success, the boys prove that they haven’t strayed away from their roots. “If anyone’s still sitting, get off your arse, this is a rock ‘n’ roll show!” snarls a sweat ridden Simon Neil who acts as an example to the crowd as he clamours over equipment and puts on such a strong vocal performance that it seems that his vessels might burst at any moment with his consistent throaty shouting.
It’s not just Simon who was showing his worth though. Ben Johnston gave a tremendous performance on drums, his skilful bombardments on the drum kit seemed like child’s play to him and left fans in awe. Brother James provided back up vocals, another set of throat vessels to be wary of, and gave a stellar display on bass guitar which proves that he’s one of the best bassists Britain has to offer.
The backbone of every concert though is the setlist and Biffy’s was sublime. Nei’ls rough voice from the many nights of touring still managed to come across as sincere on some of the more emotional tracks such as Black Chandelier, a song about lost love that strikes a chord with the crowd as they sing along word for word. These calm moments are far and few between, the majority of the night spent moshpitting along to a whole heap of monumental tracks such as the rarely played “A Day Of..” and “Glitter and Trauma”.
Just like any rock band that are worth their money, Biffy also had other stage props that were utilised well during their gig. Whether it was the obvious yet wonderful use of a bubble machine during, you guessed it, “Bubbles” or the flurry of blue and white confetti during the illustrious closer “Mountains”, none of them were distractions and all helped to add to the experience. Some other honourable mentions are the screens that, during the chorus of “Sounds Like Balloons”, displayed the innards of a human body with blood pumping as Simon sings “the sand at the core of our bones”. Again, this doesn’t distract from the song but adds to it instead.
There’s been many that have doubted the band’s ability to perform at a headliner level of quality, the clear example being Nine Inch Nail’s front man Trent Reznor. “We’ll show you exactly who the fuck we are and why Biffy Clyro belong above Nine Inch Nails.” said Simon Neil during an interview with Q magazine. After tonight’s performance, the band has shown that they’re a world class act that are a force to be reckoned with.