Biffy Clyro

or how I learned to stop worrying and listen to three Scottish lads go nuts.

Upon receiving this assignment I was not familiar with the cult of Clyro, it would seem however that a great many Melbournians are not only aware of it but are card carrying members. My perception of the Scottish act's popularity was abruptly changed once inside the crowded Hi-Fi Bar and Ballroom, a venue that evidently believes that air conditioning is the work of the devil and wants nothing to do with it. An army of devotes crowded towards the small stage early on and harnessing the collective alcohol-fueled power of their larynxes they morphed into a cacophonous choir readily chanting ‘mon Biffy' until horse. Part gig, part soccer match it was evident early on that this was going to be a rowdy Wednesday night on Swanston St.


Arriving on stage to the dulcet bluegrass tones of Alison Krauss, a somewhat ironic choice given the mayhem that is about to ensue, the boisterous triptych hit stage to the raw cheers of the crowd, which by the third song have already erupted into a full-blown mosh pit with raucous crowd surfers doing their bit to appease their idols. Frontman Simon Neil wastes little time declaring his intentions for the evening as he arrives on stage sans shirt, displaying a conflagration of tattoos scrawled across his torso and a big bushy beard obscuring his face. A mental image of 'Grizzly Adams escapes from a mental asylum and promptly goes ape shit' is possibly the most apt description of the whole affair as Neil and his comrades the Johnston Brothers brandish their guitars to create a unique brand of harmonic metallic sludge though a plethora of head banging sweat.


Biffy Clyro's wardrobe is not the only thing that has arrive stripped back for this show with the trio relying solely on a traditional guitar and drum combo to play their set. This pared back approach is surprising considering the more complex arrangements from the group's previous albums, the popular 'Puzzle' and last year's 'Only Revolutions', which employ a considerably different approach to their studio layered mixing with most tracks incorporating horns, choirs and strings alongside the shambolic yet rhythmic rock cords produced by the Brothers Johnston. This stripped down version could have sounded like ‘Biffy-lite' however the mixing is stellar for this show and aids the group in pulling the meat of their songs and exposing the bones underneath.


Playing for just over one hour with a set relying heavily on selections from the previous two albums along with some earlier material. By the time the encore occurs the trio has proved to most of the hyped-up crowd that the ruff and ready rock n' roll spirit, which has long thought to have been dead, has been re-animated from its metal clad confides and imbued into three Scottish lads hell bent on breaking the walls and making ear drums bleed. From the looks of things the adoring audience of Biffy Clyro is more than happy to put their ears right next to speaker stacks and oblige.

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