“WE’VE never not played a gig in any year since we became a band,” beamed Biffy Clyro singer Simon Neil, his heavily-tattooed torso bare on a bitingly cold Hogmanay evening. “So now we’ve played the last half hour of 2015 - thanks for helping us keep our stats up.”
BIFFY CLYRO, IDLEWILD, HONEYBLOOD
RATING: * * * *
EDINBURGH’S HOGMANAY: CONCERT IN THE GARDENS
The pre-bells section of the Ayrshire trio’s set was indeed their only gig (actually around a third of a gig) of the year. Much more is promised in the New Year, however. It’s been three years since the band launched their ambitious double album Opposites, and later in the set, with the briefest of introductions (“we have been making a new record, this is a new song for a new year”) Neil debuted its first-revealed track. On a Bang is unusual, but no more so than the angular, grungy rock the band made before they came to prominence and were covered by X-Factor winners. It jolts along on a machine gun drum snap, its guitar lines churning and staccato, and features the attention grabbing line: “now you know better, why can’t you f***ing do better?”
Elsewhere the greatest hits were present and correct, notably The Captain, Mountains and Many of Horror, but there were playful elements too; pre-bells number Biblical was redrawn as bright and tuneful indie-pop.
Speaking of which, second-billed Idlewild proudly introduced themselves as “Idlewild from Edinburgh”, although they now live all over the country, and the revived indie-rockers displayed a still-enviable energy on Film For the Future and Captain. In their more reserved periods, such as on Little Discourage and In Remote Part/Scottish Fiction, there was a rootsy, human Scottishness which was perfect for the occasion, while Glasgow’s Honeyblood kicked off the evening with a set of compelling, shoegaze-influenced Scots indie-rock.