Live Review: Biffy Clyro Support Themselves In A Powerhouse Performance At Shepherd’s Bush Empire
“If you want something done right, do it yourself."
Biffy Clyro took that mantra to heart on Monday night (20 February) as the tri-headed Scottish beast played two sets - having decided to play their own support slot - at the headline event of this year’s BRITs week, in aid of War Child, at the relatively tiny (considering Biffy sell out arenas for a laugh these days) Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
Consisting of frontman Simon Neil and brothers Ben and James ‘Jimbo’ Johnston (together known as ‘Bimbo’ – their words), Biffy opened their first set, which consisted exclusively of tracks from their first three albums, with ‘Glitter And Trauma’ (from 2004’s Infinity Land). Chants of ‘mon the Biff’ rang out around. "We're gonna be monning all night, don't worry about that," said Simon, a grin etched out across his face from ear to ear.Biffy then lunged headfirst into early tracks they hadn’t played live since 2014, including ‘Toys, Toys, Toys, Choke, Toys, Toys, Toys’ and the set closer, ‘There's No Such Thing as a Jaggy Snake’.
"It’s great to see so many people out tonight," Simon said, before bassist James added, "we never had this many in 2003".
"It's almost like this is what those songs f*cking deserved!”Before Biffy's second set, Oscar, who came to England as a child refugee, spoke about the wonderful work War Child do. Oscar is told that he’s around 15 years old, although nobody really knows his date of birth.
Oscar came to England as a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), settled into school well, and now helps War Child raise money for other children caught up in conflicts.
As Oscar’s speech – which was observed in a respectful silence by the audience - drew to a close, Oscar added, with a dramatic pause, that he was now deputy head boy at school. As soon as those words left his mouth, Shepherd’s Bush erupted into applause and cheers. A chant of “Oscar! Oscar! Oscar!” rang out. The teen looked ecstatic. A moving moment.
Next, the world’s best support band, Biffy Clyro, came back out for their headline set. What followed was as close as you could get to a Biffy Clyro greatest hits set, the band packing in as much as they could under the time constraints in a two hour-long set.
When we met the band the following day for an interview (video coming soon), they said that they’d never play two sets - which lasted around 2 hours and 45 minutes in total - in one night again. It was that knackering. This is understandable considering how Biffy live shows play out. They’re ferocious, muscular, sweaty and relentless. This one was no different.
WATCH BIFFY CLYRO'S MUSIC VIDEO FOR 'FLAMMABLE' BELOW:
From the soaring chorus of ‘Mountains’ to the violent, beefy riffs of ‘That Golden Rule’ – which saw geyser-sized mosh pits open up - Biffy’s Only Revolutions material drew the biggest reactions, although new tracks like ‘On A Bang’ and ‘Wolves Of Winter’ slotted into the set like they’d been around for years. The Scottish trio had brought along an armada of their own amps, as well as another guitarist and a keys player, to beef up their sound. It was almost deafening, in a good way.
It was a shame that ‘Stingin’ Belle’ didn’t get a run out, but that’s some serious nit picking on our part considering Biffy played for almost three hours. As the group lined up to finish their set, Simon announced, "we’re Biffy-f*cking-Clyro," before launching into the whoops and stomping feet of 'The Captain'. And with that, the band departed the stage, with Simon lifting drummer Ben Johnston up onto his shoulder, and off out of sight. A powerhouse performance. Next stop Wembley Stadium? Let's hope so.
— Biffy Clyro (@BiffyClyro) February 20, 2017
Thousands of children are in urgent need of help as a result of the military offensive to retake Mosul. War Child’s team is on the ground right now providing ‘safe spaces’ and emergency care for 6,000 boys and girls who have fled the city. Your donation today could help War Child to reach even more children. Donate here.
BRITs Week is sponsored by O2.
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