The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


Biffy Clyro (live in The Ambassador Theatre, Dublin)

Review Snapshot:  If you've ever had a lover who's traded you in for a younger, more fashionable model, you'll know exactly how I feel after Biffy's performance tonight.  Sure, they still casts longing glances in your direction that make you feel all warm inside, but you know, in your heart of hearts, that they're more interested in the Top Shop Rock & Roller now and that, alas, your time has passed.

The Cluas Verdict? 5 out of 10

Biffy Clyro

Full Review:
Arriving at 8pm to ensure I could get a good spot near the front, I was surprised to see that The Future Kings of Spain were already onstage and had begun their support slot.  What surprised me even more was the crowd.  Suddenly, I felt as if I'd turned up at a My Chemical Romance or HIM gig as there was enough black and white stripes on show to repave every zebra crossing in the country.   And they were so young.  I thought I'd at least hit the 30 mark before I felt old at a gig but tonight I genuinely did.

The Future Kings of Spain set contained some 'interesting' versions of old and new songs and culminated in a full version of Syndicate, without doubt my favourite song this year.  Lead singer Joey Wilson's remark that 'It's nice to see a big crowd here to support Biffy Clyro,' sparked memories of the first time I saw both bands in The Temple Bar Music Centre many years ago.  Essentially, the venue contained my future wife and brother in law, various members of Snow Patrol and JJ72 and, well, that's about it.  Tonight, however, while the venue isn't quite full, it's clear that support for Biffy is growing.

Entering to Bowie's Let's Dance; Biffy launch their set with the rousing triumvirate of Saturday Superhouse, Who's got a Match and Justboy.  The reaction of the crowd to the three is bizarre.  The first two, taken from Biffy's latest album, Puzzle, are warmly greeted but for Justboy, taken from the bands debut album, Blackened Sky, the reaction is much more muted.  As the set goes on I begin to figure out why. 

There are two distinct sets of fans here to see Biffy tonight.  One, like myself, who are beginning to believe that Biffy's greatest work is behind them and that they've yet to improve on anything Blackened Sky or The Vertigo of Bliss had to offer.  The other set, like the group in front of me who had a body odour contest during All The Way Down, have come to Biffy at a time when the band are exploring a new, more mainstream, direction.  Of course, there were people here tonight who like both Biffy's, but to me there is a clear shift in their fanbase with age being the most defining characteristic.  I became a fan of Biffy Clyro because they made music that appealed to me at 19 or 20.  Tonight I realise that Biffy's new musical direction appeals to the very same age group, but no longer to me.

Only twice tonight does the whole crowd unite; both times in the encore.  Machines is performed solo by Simon but he has the entire crowd on backing vocals.  And then, the final song of the evening, 57.  It's the best version I've heard of Biffy's trademark song yet, and it's great to see the band perform the song with as much enthusiasm this time, possibly the one thousandth time they've played it, as the first.  It does, however, leave a taste in the mouth.  This is what might have been for Biffy but they've chosen another path and good luck to them.  On nights like this though, I wish they'd stop teasing me with reminders that they were the one who got away.

Steven O'Rourke

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