Biffy Clyro at Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
In the five months since I bought my Biffy Clyro ticket, I’d somehow forgotten how much I liked them; it was only hearing their latest single, “Biblical” on the radio in recent weeks that piqued my sense of anticipation, sending me out hopeful of an emotional lift on a cold, wet Friday night.
I arrived in time to catch a few songs from the support act, City and Colour whose name (before I’d done my preparatory on-line research) had conjured up whingeing emo-metal. In contrast, what we got from Canada’s Dallas Green and his four (one presumes) friends was epic, almost old-school rock balladry; melodic, impassioned and rather impressive.
The eventual arrival of the headliners was greeted with a whoop of uncynical delight the like of which I’ve seldom heard at a popular music concert, and one was reminded that this is a band who spent more than a decade building up a passionate following prior to the huge success of their “Puzzle” album (their masterpiece, in my opinion), and the embarrassing if lucrative patronage of Cowell (via the unfortunate Matt Cardle). Indeed, they rewarded their older fans by paying as much attention to their early material (“Justboy”, “Jaggy Snake”, “Glitter and Trauma”) as to their more crowd-pleasing recent hits which, although tending more towards the anthemic, retain Biffy’s adventurous approach to time signatures. This renders drunken swaying a tad trickier than at most gigs, but somehow we managed; there was also much singing along in Scottish accents. On a split-level stage, with creative use of evocative video back-projection, the trio (augmented by keyboards and second guitar) brought out most of the hits (a notable exception being my personal favourite, “Folding Stars” – perhaps an understandable omission, since it’s about a personal bereavement). They even chanced a “diolch yn fawr” or two, which always goes down well in these parts. 100 minutes (plus three encores) of intense, euphoric rock’n’roll on a grand, but still touchingly human scale.
A beautiful night, and one which has prompted me to re-investigate their back-catalogue.