Live at Headrow House on Wednesday, 1st June 2016
Biffy Clyro are Simon Neil (guitar, lead vocals), James Johnston (bass, vocals) and Ben Johnston (drums, vocals), as if they need any introduction! Their songs have become anthems for our generation and they have seen a phenomenal rise to success, selling out stadiums and headlining festivals, which has made Biffy Clyro at the forefront of British Rock for the last 10 years. Unlike many others, they have stayed at the top of their game and retained that position, with each subsequent release. That is not about to stop anytime soon, as they are due to unleash their highly anticipated seventh studio album, 'Ellipsis' (on the on the 8th July).
Ahead of their 10th visit to Leeds Festival, Biffy Clyro put on a rare acoustic gig at an intimate Leeds venue and we were thrilled to be invited to this very special performance, for no more than 100 lucky Leeds Festival ticket holders. There was an excitable atmosphere as they walked out on to the smaller than usual stage, announcing "We are the 1975", to a roar of laughter. Biffy Clyro (armed only with an acoustic guitar, Bass Drum, Cajon and Bass Guitar), open with The Captain, showing a tempered energy and demonstrating beautiful harmonies. Swiftly followed up by Biblical, which played stripped back like this, really shows the song in a different light allowing the lyrics to shine through. I already feel like this will be a set list of my favourite Biffy Clyro tracks.
Treating us to some new material, Medicine is rooted in classic Biffy and has the potential to be another anthemic track. Oh my! Leeds fest you are in for a treat when these boys hit the stage! Then back to an older song, Drop It (or Drop it Dickhead! as it was known), which has a kind of country feel to it.
They all have a great sense of humour which shows throughout the set and they really have fun, seeming as comfortable to be back on a small stage, as they are commanding a big arena stage. They rattle through tracks, playing classic Mountains and a track dates back to 2004, My Recovery Injection, whose Mathy vibe still sounds as good as ever. After being rather restrained, the room then becomes alive, singing the chorus back, through Black Chandelier and retreats to listening intently when they play another new song Rearrange. This feels like a departure from the more familiar sound of Biffy Clyro and is sung in a much higher pitch. It has soft vocals, but harsh lyrics and I can't help thinking how difficult this must be reach those high notes.
An acoustic set for a Rock band really allows you see the beauty in the lyricism, this is true in particular for The Rain and you can really feel the emotion in the room. Biffy then pick up the energy again, launching in to Opposite, with the crowd softly singing back the lyrics, line after line. You can see Simon holding back and it is not the first time he reached to step on a non-existent guitar pedal, Instead, he takes a few steps back from the microphone and lets rip. He has one hell of a powerful voice!
Returning to something gentle, Little Soldiers (Mountains B-side), is a beautiful lead in to my favourite song of the night. Biffy Clyro then play fan favourite, Machines, once again showing that they have such tender and delicate harmonies. Absolutely beautiful, I am lost for words. Closing with Different People, Biffy Clyro have played through a set of 13 songs including the classics such as Mountains and Black Chandelier and fan favourites like Machines. The atmosphere was filled with excitement and quite honestly this has to one of the best gigs I have ever been too and definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity.