Biffy Clyro

support Airship
author TL date 15/10/10 venue Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

Okay, so I get it now. The times listed next to the shows on Vega's website are the times when the first band of a night actually starts. I've learned it now, I promise, having arrived ten mere minutes after that time, and seeing that already, supporting band Airship is in the third song of their set. That doesn't leave much time for experiencing anything worthy of an introduction then, so I guess I'll just move on to the band descriptions:


Airship are a four-piece from Manchester with whom I am unfamiliar with, save for a brief and rather inattentive spin of a track on their myspace so I enter the venue about as unknowingly as the rest of the audience seems to be. The place is maybe at little under half capacity at this moment, and Airship are sending their tunes out over the floor as more and more people slowly trickle in from the bar. Those tunes are of a kind that isn't all that easy for me to describe to you, because on one hand, they have the very familiar casual, introverted indie-ness going on, yet their sound also often leans into a grander, slightly more dramatic soundscapes. The performance is more one of playing and singing with skill and class, than one with band members flying around trying to engage the audience, and this is actually quite nice, as it leaves people to take the music in on their own terms, and given that Airship both look and sound cool, they don't have much to worry about. This is the kind of show then, where we're treated to some enjoyable and interesting music, but where you could question whether it really warms anyone up. Some care more for the latter than the former, but I'm not one of them, so long as you bring good tunes and play well, you're in for a grade around the mark of:


Biffy Clyro

As breaks between bands come, this one is no different. Time for a beer and a trip to the bathroom and then we're on to the main event. The lights go out as the tones of Alison Krauss' "Down To The River To Pray" envelopes the audience, perfectly quieting and humbling the crowd, making the surge in noise even more audible as the trio walks on and immediately straps in and kicks of "That Golden Rule". The crowd scrambles to respond to the hard rocking start, with heads banging, feet leaving the floor and voices raising to meet the chorus. It quickly becomes apparent that this show isn't as much a progression through different periods, as it is more of a situation where the 'rock' switch has suddenly been flicked on, and the only other option is off.. and that option is not viable for the next hour and fifteen minutes. Biffy frantically pound the shit out of their instruments in a way that you'll see few other bands do, and while it does take a song or two for the sound guy to turn a trainwreck of distorted sound into a thing from which melodies can peek out from on occasion, the only thing that's left to complain about by the time the band has rocked through "Living Is A Problem", is Simon Neil's voice, which doesn't quite seem like it is where it is on record. This results in many of his high notes being delivered in a scream reminiscent of the vocal style employed by many a nineties emocore band (Rites Of Spring come to mind), and while some of the younger fans present are likely bummed out by this, it seems that most people are quickly adapting to the notion that the live Biffy experience is a somewhat louder and more raw experience than listening to the band on record.

Anyway, while I'm thinking about this, Biffy are confidently touring through their discography, giving deserved airings to classics like "Justboy", "Glitter And Trauma" and "Liberate The Illiterate" in between newer tracks like "Mountains", "Bubbles" and "Who's Got A Match", with Neil giving most of the performance of the latter on his knees at the very front and centre of the stage, right in the crowd's little faces. The frontman, sporting purple tight jeans and not much else, is currently rocking bleached hair and beard, covering his whole head in yellow locks, as he starts most songs off with one foot waiting anxiously above his pedal-board, the other stretched out behind him, like a sprinter, waiting for the starting signal. This stance is the perfect pose to precede the intense amount of energy the band release into the performance of every song, pouring their voices and muscles into most every stroke of strings and every word of lyric. Naturally, such excess demands a break here and there, offered tonight by means of songs like "God & Satan", "9/15ths" and "Machines", yet while the movement settles down a bit, the vocal response seems as loud as for the faster songs. To be fair however, as far as the audience goes, the singing along is the means of response dominating tonight, as the mid-twenties aged crowd (I'm guessing) seems to have their moshing days behind them, and jumping up and down is the most excessive display of physical activity I am able to spot. Of course, one could remark that Biffy's tendency to throw odd time signatures into their songs doesn't make clapping, jumping or headbanging any easier.

Regardless, as mentioned, the 'rock-switch' stays on for one hour and fifteen minutes, slowly but steadily draining the batteries of band and crowd alike, and after some fifteen songs or so, Neil breaks the band's otherwise rather silent demeanour by saying we've been a good crowd, and assuring us that "next time, I promise my voice will be just perfect". This is then followed by "Cloud Of Stink" and "The Captain" and then without further ado, the 'switch' is flicked off again. There's no encore here, and overall, you could argue that there hasn't really been any sort of showmanship to be spotted over the course of tonight. However, what there has been, have been bands full of confidence in their own material, performing that material like it was the only thing that mattered, showcasing a wealth of different sounds and ideas. I guess the fact that Vega isn't entirely sold out tonight means that such a thing is not something to please the masses, but as far as I'm concerned, and as far as the banter of people around me goes, the only way Biffy could be better live, is if Simon Neil's voice had been spot on, and if they'd played even more songs.



01. That Golden Rule

02. Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies

03. Glitter and Trauma

04. Bubbles

05. 9/15ths

06. Who's Got a Match?

07. Justboy

08. God & Satan

09. Mountains

10. Get Fucked Stud

11. Born On A Horse

12. Shock Shock

13. Machines

14. Liberate The Illiterate/A Mong Among Mingers

15. Many Of Horror

16. Whorses

17. Cloud Of Stink

18. The Captain

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