One of the most curious cases in rock music is Scottish rock band Biffy Clyro, the band's differing popularity illustrates the differences between the music scene in North American and in the United Kingdom. At home, Biffy Clyro is a monster, an arena level, multi-platinum selling, festival headlining force that rarely plays to anything south of 10,000 fans. But in the North America it’s a completely different story. On Tuesday night, the trio played Boston’s Paradise Rock Club, a venue with a capacity of 933. The show did sell out for the record - so perhaps the secret is finally out. But for the most part, Biffy Clyro has remained the best kept secret in rock.
Biffy is here to support their 2016 album “Ellipsis” - their fourth consecutive top 10 album in the UK - and seventh album overall. There were plenty of hardcore fans who lined up early outside the venue for a chance to fight for a barricade spot in the intimate venue, and by the time Biffy Clyro took to the stage the club was packed to the gills. Opening with “Wolves of Winter” the first single from “Ellipsis” the band wasted no time in kicking the show into high gear. Biffy Clyro would run through a stellar setlist, treating fans to popular songs like “Bubbles,” “Biblical,” and the ultra heavy “That Golden Rule.”
Don’t mistake Biffy for an over produced radio band, they can shred too, mosh pits broke out in the crowd several times throughout the night as Biffy played some of their heaviest songs. It was the kind of fast paced, sweaty, high energy rock gig that has become the stuff of legend in today’s music scene. A throwback rock show like the ones your dad talks about from the 70’s.
Simplicity is a big part of the equation for the three piece band who rely on only one guitar, bass and drums in addition to Simon Neil’s vocals. The further Biffy Clyro got into the set, the more emotion could be felt in the room, you could that Boston fans knew they were witnessing something special. During the encore Simon Neil slowed things down a bit, breaking out his acoustic guitar for the song “God & Satan” before the rest of the band returned for a powerful rendition of “Stingin’ Belle” from the album “Opposites” released in 2013.
For a band like Biffy Clyro, there’s often a difficulty in keeping an intimate show feeling that way, when you’re used to playing arenas and stadiums, it’s not easy to revert back to your club days and banter with the crowd. But frontman Simon Neil seemed to handle it with ease, stopping a few times to introduce songs or share a short anecdote about what when into writing a particular song. The band looked at ease on the small stage, enjoying every moment of the intimate gig with their American fans, and for the 900 fans in Boston, it was an experience that nearly every fan of rock music in the UK would be immensely jealous of.
Opening the show was Atlanta post-rock outfit O'Brother, a band with a big sound and serious musical talent. Their 50 minute set impressed most of the crowd and set the tone for a night of heavy rocking.