A great mass of hardcore fans risked life and limb to see Biffy Clyro in Nottingham with the ice and snow fully established on the ground outside.
The adverse conditions seriously cut into the crowd, which was a real shame as the gig had sold out in seconds. There were a host of empty seats and it was clear many people were simply unable to make it by hell or high water. Sadly for them, they missed out.
Biffy have been working hard for the last ten plus years and that may come as a surprise to the many pretenders out there who jumped on the bandwagon for Only Revolutions. This has been a slow, insipid rise to the top.
The last 12 months it’s all gone into hyper speed and the lads have been catapulted to stardom thanks to their new radio friendly album and a serious publicity machine going full pelt behind them.
Futureheads supported, and it felt slightly out of synch with Biffy’s sound. Surely, organisers could have got a better, heavier support act than the Futureheads who failed to captivate the audience. A really odd choice.
There was an extremely impressive set and stage design for this show, with a massive runway jutting into the middle of the arena.
Biffy entered soon kicking off with their massive hit The Captain and with it’s thundering beats it got everyone in a frenzy and the pulses were racing.
The Scots kept the pace high with Boom Blast and Ruin, and then 57 from debut album Blackened Sky.
It was clear Biffy were trying to satisfy their old and their new fans simultaneously.
They played most of Only Revolutions during the 2 hour set but also ripped into just enough older material to remind the loyal fans they hadn’t forgotten them.
You can really see that the Johnston twins and Simon Neil are connected to the core and have a great affinity on stage. Mike Vennart from Oceansize had joined the band earlier in the tour. He was back on guitar again here but was relegated to the shadows for most of it… Biffy are and always will be a trio.
The atmosphere in the arena was amazing and they just kept going at the songs relentlessly, thrashing out immaculate guitar music of the shirtless kind.
The unmistakable epic riff-monster that is That Golden Rule got the crowd seriously moshing up the front and even had the more reserved seated parts going mental.
Highlight was when Simon sang a beautiful acoustic performance of Folding Stars, a song dedicated to his mother who died from cancer which he rarely sings live.
They kept it mellow for a while after that with Diary of Always (including a nostalgic backdrop of a younger Biffy Clyro singing along) and a solo version of Machines, all performed from the fulcrum of the runway into the crowd, before returning to the main stage and taking us by surprise to raise the roof again with Whose Got a Match and Saturday Superhouse from Puzzle.
The main set ended with Many of Horror which got the biggest sing along of the night and then a perfectly selected encore of Glitter and Trauma, the epic Justboy, thrashing Cloud of Stink and finally Mountains which overwhelmed the place.
They played Nottingham literally just 12 months ago in the 1900 capacity Rock City and are now back in a sold out 12000 capacity arena, this says it all. Biffy are truly mainstream now.
As an old fan it felt like a parent must feel leaving the kids at the school gates – proud and excited for them to be taking the next step in the world, sad that they no longer my joy.
Many older fans feel the same. We can just hope that they continue to balance the old and new with the same success rather than alienating their loyal fan base and everything they represented. In a nutshell, becoming the next Kings of Leon.
Check out more from Lara Leon Cullen at: