BIFFY CLYRO live in Las Vegas
Armed with a cupboard full of trophies, including two NME awards for Best British Band, Biffy Clyro kicked off their U.S. tour in the intimate confines of Vinyl at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas.
Three previous appearances in Sin City over the last seven years has built a loyal following of fans and tonight’s club was in sync with the band from the second they stormed the stage with the fierce “Wolves Of Winter” from new album Ellipsis. With headlining slots at Leeds, Reading and Download Festival on their resume, it speaks volumes about the band’s passion for playing live that they can walk into a tiny club in America and play with the same fire they display in front of 50,000 fans in Europe.
Jumping all the way back to 2007’s Puzzle for “Living Is a Problem Because Everything Dies”, the band moved effortlessly through a setlist that felt heavier than previous stops in Las Vegas. Older, prog-rock excursions like 2004’s “Glitter and Trauma” revealed the geometrically intricate arrangements that were the band’s hallmark in their youth. Maturity and years of hard work building a fan base one gig at a time have opened the band’s musical (and emotional) horizons. The new album’s highlights “Howl” and “Re-Arrange” represent the binary elements at work within the Biff; where heavy guitars and poetic yearning can happily co-exist. The result is an adept style of rock that can pulverize the ears and touch the heart, often times simultaneously.
While Foo Fighters and Coldplay might write bigger anthems, Biffy Clyro toil in the same stratosphere – but their songs are more personal than universal.
With no stadium show to fall back on, singer-guitarist Simon Neil, bassist James Johnston and drummer Ben Johnston stayed tightly-packed on the narrow stage and drew from a swirling tempest of shared energy. “Bubbles” possessed enough passion to shake Wembley Stadium and was a physical punch to the chest in such tight confines. While Foo Fighters and Coldplay might write bigger anthems, Biffy Clyro toil in the same stratosphere – but their songs are more personal than universal. They write for the music fan who finds meaning not in the validation of a shared experience where everyone is checking into a show on Facebook, but in the quiet moments pouring over the lyrics alone. In doing so, the shared experience of a Biffy Clyro concert becomes spiritual. Quite frankly, apart from seeing Savages two years ago, I cannot recall such an emotionally fulfilling concert in the young millennium.
While the 500 rabidly loyal Biffy fans in attendance couldn’t care less about the band’s radio success in America, 2013’s “Black Chandelier” (a moderate radio hit on this side of the pond) provided one of the night’s loudest sing-alongs. Biffy staples “Mountains”, “Many of Horror” and “The Captain” weren’t far behind as the small room suddenly felt like a Scottish field stretching for miles as the audience took over the vocals from Simon Neil who was visibly pleased. Despite their massive success in Europe, the band looks more determined than ever to deliver gigs that inspire grown men to hug each other and new friendships to blossom in the pit as fans from all over the world flock to Mon the Biff. The tour has only begun, so find a city near you and grab tickets to see one of the finest bands to ever come out of the UK.