Gig review: Biffy Clyro, Glasgow

Biffy Clyro frontman Simon Neil was in his usual shirtless form. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Biffy Clyro frontman Simon Neil was in his usual shirtless form. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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THREE consecutive sold-out nights at the 2,000-capacity Barrowlands is Biffy Clyro’s idea of “intimate” these days. The Kilmarnock alt-rock band have become firm arena-fillers and festival headliners in recent years.

Biffy Clyro - Barrowlands, Glasgow

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But even if not everyone in the audience could see the sweat on the typically shirtless trio’s tattooed torsos, there was an intimacy of spirit at least about this collector’s-item experience – a Christmas gift to Team Biffy, as the band’s passionate fans collectively style themselves.

As they began a weekend-long symmetrical survey of their entire six-album, 160-song back catalogue (two albums plus associated B-sides per show), Biffy’s focus tonight was on their 2002 debut Blackened Sky and their 2007 commercial breakthrough Puzzle. Specific selections had been made by fans in advance via social media, some of them never heard live before. Somebody was live-updating the set list online, such was the depth of fan immersion.

The more casual Team Biffy member was perhaps left a little cold across more than two hours and 30 songs in all, especially during obscurities such as the nine-minute instrumental throwback to the band’s more experimental roots Time Is an Imploding Unit/Waiting for Green.

But then, casual fans can go to any of Biffy Clyro’s arena and festival shows and get what they need. If this felt like an act of self-indulgence, it was at least one of communal self-indulgence.

Besides, there were plenty of big hitters to savour as well, from Puzzle in particular – the scorching Living Is a Problem Because Everything Dies and Who’s Got A Match?, and rousingly anthemic ballad Machines, as sung solo by frontman Simon Neil in the show’s undoubted camera-phone moment.

Seen on 05.12.14