Biffy Clyro are old hats when it comes to playing for tens and even hundreds of thousands – so the chance to see them tear up an intimate, 1000-dude-capacity venue like Warsaw was too cool for fans to resist. The long-running three-piece band (1995 – now), hailing from Kilmarnock in East Ayrshire, Scotland, coaxed a fiery weeknight crowd out to the cozy Brooklyn concert hall – and many of them were already in good spirits thanks to the hot, homemade pierogis and kielbasa sandwiches served up right by the stage. The anticipation was high, but the evening was off to a sick start with an attention-grabbing set from the opening band, Brooklyn’s own Spirit Animal, whose grinding, riff-heavy rock was a satisfyingly grungy treat.
It was almost pitch black when the three much-loved members of Biffy – Simon Neil (guitar, lead vocals), and twin brothers James Johnston (bass, vocals) and Ben Johnston (drums, vocals) – slipped onto the stage, masked only by darkness and the intense choir voices building suspense on high blast. When Warsaw’s lights blazed to life, the tattooed guys were already shirtless and looking savage, a sight that revved up the crowd and induced a female-powered scream at a very high decibel. From there on out, it was a full-on collision of feel-good, shred-heavy alt-rock, powered by the concrete foundation of Ben’s explosive, uptempo drumming and James’ sinister basslines. “Good evening Brooklyn. We are Biffy fuckin’ Clyro,” announced Simon, who kept the crowd on their toes straight through the night with his volatile solos and clear, hard-hitting vocals – not to mention his habit of switching to a new guitar for almost every song.
It all started with “Wolves of Winter,” the high-impact opener from their latest album, Ellipsis, which entered the UK charts at number 1 when it was released last summer. But, sticking to their setlist from other recent U.S. shows, Biffy Clyro steered away from the new stuff immediately, jumping into 2007’s “Living Is a Problem Because Everything Dies,” followed by “Sounds Like Balloons,” “Biblical,” and “Spanish Radio” from 2013’s Opposites – before returning to “Howl” and “In the Name of the Wee Man” from the new LP. Biffy Clyro’s hardcore fans might have known to expect the shuffled selection – which continued to time-travel with 2007’s “Who’s Got a Match?” and 2009’s “Bubbles” – but that didn’t stop them from letting out an audible reaction whenever they launched into a new song.
The hard-working band kept the momentum going with a badass run of “Re-arrange,” “That Golden Rule,” “Black Chandelier,” “Medicine,” and “Different People,” and the energy was insane; all hands in the air as fans threw themselves toward the source of the good vibes. Biffy dished out a generous ending with “Mountains,” “On a Bang,” 9/15ths,” “Animal Style,” and “Many of Horror,” followed by a high-demand encore of “Machines,” and “Stingin’ Belle.” If there was even an ounce of energy left in that crowd when they stumbled out into the night, it’d be a medical miracle. As for Biffy Clyro? I’m sure they’re just fine.
Article: Olivia Isenhart
Photos: Shayne Hanley