The first time I saw Biffy Clyro, at the Hove Festival in 2010, I thought them to be good, but not sensational good. They had a charismatic stage show, lead by singer and guitarist Simon Neil. Yesterday night they closed the third day of Bergen Fest, and they ruled the stage. One of the best live concerts I have seen and heard this year. (Go to the end of the blogpost for the setlist.)
Totto Mjelde has reviewed the concert at NRK P3’s website, where he gave them a 6 on the dice. (If you don’t read Norwegian, you can translate the words using Google Translate or some other translators)
The trio’s music is a good mix of hard rock mixed with pop influences to a characteristic sound that is their trademark. Some of their songs are also rhythmically complicated, like That Golden Rule from Only Revolutions that they played early in the set. One thing is to be precise in the studio, but they also present the same precision live.
What characterizes a great live band to me, is the effortlessness performance of sometimes demanding songs, where the band have those extra reserves to make the songs fly. Compared to bands that have more than enough to get through their songs together. Biffy Clyro is such a band, where all those heavily syncopated rhytmic riffs are perfumed with a smile while running around on stage.
Visually the concert yesterday was a joy to watch. The lightning was great, often choregraphed to the music and the rhythms. Simon Neil, the singer and guitarist have bleached his hair since I last saw him, and he is the elegant but at the same time playful front guy in the band.
On the other side of the stage James Johnston plays the bass more like a metal musician than a rock bassist. His twin brother Ben Johnston is the precise, hard and virtuoso time machine on drums. I don’t know if them being twins is an issue here, but Biffy Clyro’s rhythm section is exceptionally tight.
To fill out the sound, Biffy Clyro uses two extra musicians live, and that is a plus. Mike Vennart played guitar the first time I saw them, while Richard Ingram on keyboards was new to me. Together they helped to fill out the sound in a perfect way.
I am lucky enough to get another chance of seeing Biffy Clyro this summer, at the Slottsfjell festival in Toensberg July 18-20th. Since I photographed the band yesterday, I can enjoy the whole concert at Slottsfjell, not only the last part. I am already looking forward to it!
Here is the setlist for the concert:
That Golden Rule
Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies
Sounds Like Balloons
God & Satan
Who’s Got A Match
Glitter And Trauma
Many Of Horror
Modern Magic Formula
All pictures are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.