Live at Leeds Metropolitan University on Tuesday, 22nd February 2005
The amount of times I hear 'Mon The Biffy' tonight, if stretched in font 10 end to end would circumnavigate the world 6.5 times. Fact.
Is there a limit to the amount of times a band is medically able to tour? If there is, pray for Biffy Clyro as they play way too many shows for their own good. This tour, tentatively in promotion of new single 'Only One Word Springs To Mind', is another biggy from one of the most credible UK bands doing the rounds at the moment. It seems as if they don't really need an excuse to tour any more anyway, in house conversations must go something like - "oh look it's the 10th Sunday after Pentecost? Right here we go again lads." Now that's grafting.
Truth is Biffy really do deserve all the recent plaudits from media and fans alike, after so many years in the wilderness it turns out diversifying their sound and upping the weirdness factor actually progressed their careers, go figure. Ah yes it's the age old tale of the hare and the tortoise re-written for the modern day UK rock chronicles. While Hundred Reasons and Hell Is For Heroes rushed out of the blocks and had big selling debut albums but were then unceremoniously dropped earlier this year, Biffy Clyro have kept plugging away, playing the toilets of the British Isles, building up a vast fan base and releasing ever advancing, more challenging albums and finally they're approaching the finishing line. To add extra irony to the saga it's the very same Hell Is For Heroes that are supporting tonight. It's a touching tale of how hard work, determination and sacrifice can pay off. Stay in school kids.
So then, Leeds Met it is, definite proof Biffy have stepped it up a notch after playing the Cockpit in September? Or a one off? They've sold this place out easily so it looks unlikely they'll be disappearing any time soon, unluckily for anyone that hasn't witnessed them in full flow in a more intimate setting but tonight Biffy Clyro prove they can rock with the best of them no matter what the setting.
Formed from the ashes of hardcore mob Will Haven, er, hardcore mob Ghostride have the relatively tame task of warming an already pumped crowd up. But seriously, hardcore thrashing on a Biffy bill? It's not the best of choices. They aren't that bad in reality. Very grimy in a 'we haven't cleaned behind the toilet in 25 years' kinda way and equally as unpleasant to look at (sorry, I didn't have a chance to smell them but I assume similar). They chug away incessantly with the vocals just this side of screamed and there is enough melody there to be bearable but after 3 songs it's fair to say I've had enough and retreat to the bar.
Do people still care about Hell Is For Heroes? You bet your left testicle they do. A very disheveled looking Justin Schlossberg has to be in with a shot of winning most intense and self harming frontman around at the moment (as well as vocalist with hardest to spell surname which he's won 3 years running and has a meticulously polished trophy on his mantelpiece to that effect). Kicking off with comeback song 'Kamichi' it's a set of superb numbers which go to prove how vital HIFH are. I almost wish this was a co-headlining show as Hell Is For Heroes are just superb in whatever format you find them. 'Retreat' is the only sorely missed absentee but 'Nightvision' and 'I Can Climb Mountains' are as immense as ever and the crowd lap it up in a big way. The new songs in some respects pale in comparison (case in point 'Models For The Programme') but hopefully that's just down to the fact their growers. HIFH deserve to be back on top of the pile in 2005, check them out headlining in April.
It's time for the purveyors of the anti-overnight success Biffy Clyro then. Do you like pretentious band introductions? Then you'll love Biffy, 5 odd minutes of rumbling and lighting effects that even Space Mountain couldn't top are the preview to a stonking 'Glitter and Trauma' where not pogo-ing would result in premature death. It's just not an option for a long while. It's amazing just how many amazing hits Biffy Clyro have in their arsenal, at least 3 huge classics from each of their 3 albums plus a supporting cast of many more extremely strong tunes. Tonight's setlist turns out to be a tad toooo long though (as a sprint to the train station ensured following completion), it could have been condensed slightly more but maybe Simon Neil and the Johnston Brothers are saying a big thanks to all the diehard (of which their are many) fans here in Leeds tonight by playing such a substantial amount of material. On top of that it appears lead vocalist Simon is enjoying it more tonight than he has previous, my last Biffy experience in September for example I believed was a much more lacklustre display than tonight's excellent display. Highlights are impossible to trace but the usual suspects of 'Justboy' and 'Ideal Height' are never going to be less than exquisite. Everything a show should be, great music, great atmosphere, great band.
A notch has indeed been risen but will this be the last stop of Biffy's road to domination or have they got more in the bag? If you're a Biffy Clyro fan, I don't think you need me to answer that.