Scottish trio Biffy Clyro last night took their new album Ellipsis to Utrecht’s 2,000-capacity TivoliVredenburg for a sold out show which lasted for the best part of two solid hours. Simon Neil and co., whose new album is a familiar step in a new direction, left no stone unturned as they explored every avenue and crevice of the Tivoli’s largest room.
Taking to the stage just after 9pm, the band managed to get the crowd in the palm of their hands from the moment that set opener Wolves of Winter‘s ad libbed backing tracks echoed across the room. Perched behind his mic stand, Neil half-whispered the track’s intro before a visual battering of strobe lights intertwined with Wolves of Winter’s pummelling rhythms and ferocious guitar lines (for which Mike Vennart serves as Neil’s trusty assistant). The set, which was Ellipsis-heavy, drew from across the band’s expansive back catalogue, something which they instantly demonstrated on the weird, wacky and wonderful Living Is a Problem Because Everything Dies and later cuts Machines and 9/15ths. “I fear god because everything dies, babe” howled Neil through his mic during the former of the three as his satin cloak flew through the air with him. Sounds Like Balloons, which is lifted from Ellipsis’ predecessor Opposites, re-introduced the audience to a stage in the band’s career where anthemic strides of glory were intersperesed in and amongst every note. Further cuts from Opposites included the soaring Spanish Radio and anthemic Different People.
For the duration of the set, Biffy’s extremely dedicated fanbase remained fully immersed in the aural battering which Neil and co. offer on an almost daily basis withou fail. The camaraderie amongst crowd members stretched all across the room, from the hardcore throngs on the barrier all the way through to a handful of elderly couples positioned along the venue’s wide balcony. Their sheer dedication to a band whose career has seen more sonic curveballs than a misthrown Pokeball is a wonder to witness, especially when the band pull a handful of slower tracks out of the bag. Early highlight Biblical intiated a mass sing-a-long, whereas new track Friends & Enemies and Re-Arrange saw limbs launched into the air in mass euphoria. Still, the loudest reception was reserved for Many of Horror, the track which essentially launched the band further into mainstream consciousness with a little help from The X Factor. The track’s soaring chorus is one to be reckoned with, and not many other tracks come close to it when pulled off in front of a huge crowd.
Despite the euphoria and beauty of Biffy Clyro’s slower tracks, though, it was still the trio’s heaviest output which left a longlasting effect. Black Chandelier‘s destructive breakdown made for a mid-set mosh moment, with That Golden Rule, On a Bang and Animal Style presenting Utrecht with three battering rams worth of sonic goodness. As the whooshing The Captain opened the show’s encore (which took 22 songs to reach), it instantly became clear that Biffy Clyro have a back catalogue so expansive and intriguing that they could play for hours and hours on end and still never play two identical sounding songs. The show came to an end on the fierce Stingin’ Belle, a track which combines laid-back verses and lyrical intricacy with caterwauling rhythms courtesy of power duo Ben & James Johnston. It’s the perfect set closer for a band who could choose from so many other brilliant tracks, and it’s just one of the many examples as to why Biffy Clyro are the world’s most incendiary live band anno 2016. Next year will be a huge twelve months for the band, but something tells us that they’re not going to have too much trouble pulling off even the toughest of challenges: pleasing the heavy metal masses atop the Download Festival bill next summer. Whatever the band finds in their path in 2017 looks set to be achieved with maximum efficiency and musical wonder, something they’re definitely no strangers to.
Ellipsis is out now. Find more shots from the show below. You can still buy tickets for the band’s show at the 013 in Tilburg tomorrow. Get them here.