Biffy Clyro and The Bigger The GodEdit this event
“This one’s for the Llama Farmers!”- Biffy Clyro
It’s Monday- the first day of my holiday… it’s a warm and occasionally sunny day (very rare!) London is buzzing and we’re just about to go to my second home (The Monarch) to see one of the bands I literally won’t shut up about… Biffy Clyro! - (Their drummer sings y’know!). - Could I be happier??!
First band The Bigger The God have apparently been around for 10 years, and released 3 albums plus countless singles… but on seeing/hearing them live, one has to raise the question why? And more importantly (mysteriously) How? I mean this band: good? Ooh no… Camp? Ooh Yes! Even the band members didn’t seem to take themselves entirely seriously… and let’s be honest, neither did the audience… But hey, one thing to their credit…at least they added a comical element to the night… even if they didn’t necessarily intend to!
So Biffy Clyro, they’re a three-piece Glasgow based band with not only a shouty guy BUT a singing drummer… in fact all three members sing, shout and play away, and boy do they make a lot of noise! (Yes that IS a good thing… a VERY GOOD thing.) In my entire gig going years I don’t think I’ve ever before witnessed the stage shaking… and I mean physically shaking - not bad for a three piece!
The set started with the gorgeous ‘Hope For An Angel’- already one of my favourite Biffy songs, this track lures the crowd into a false sense of security with its melodic split vocals, and light guitar tittering, before the real Biffy Clyro surface and what an entrance they make. ‘Hope For An Angel’ soon descends into a mad and chaotic end section, with all three members literally screaming, shouting and bellowing to the audience.
With the band announcing before every song bar one that: “this one’s for the Llama Farmers!” and genuinely enjoying themselves with crowd banter and interaction, the atmosphere throughout was relaxed. In between songs, there was just enough time for me to remove my jaw from the floor and gather my senses together before the band embarked on another powerful, emotive, loud and heart rendering number.
Crowd pleaser ‘57’ had to be the highlight of the set for me with its almost military-esque drum pattern, sliding bass line, post-hardcore guitar riffs and instantly sing-along-able chorus where all three members intensely sing, shout and scream to their hearts content. ‘57’ is the track where Biffy Clyro simply come to life on stage bursting - out from every corner and straight at the audience. Current single ‘27’ received a somewhat rapturous reception for the Biffy clyro-loving crowd and quite deservedly so, the lyrics to this little number are lovely, and with music back grounding to match this track has everything set in the right place! Other standout tracks would have to include **'Just boy’ and ‘The Go Slow’ in fact the whole set from start to finish was beautifully articulated, passionately loud, perfectly timed and in truth: fantastic. Now I could quite happily go on to describe each and every song, sound or sensation till the cows come home. Don’t worry I won’t! But I will say catch this band whenever the chance arises; hopefully while they’re still small and intimate because trust me it won’t last long… they’re gonna be huge!
Each delicious slice of Hardcore-emo-stinkcore-pop-rock is generously served with a combination of striking guitar riffs, rolling percussion, driving bass lines, rhythm, upbeat tempo, ambience and an abundance of attitude…. Not to mention volume. These boys deserve a separate rating of 4.5/5, because quite frankly they blew the rest of the field away!
“You’ve got no soul” A comment made to me on hearing that I wasn’t falling head over heels for Haven, in reply… “Maybe not, but I‘ve certainly got an attention span, and one that is often some what limited.”
Haven for me have arrived about two years too late. Had I seen and heard this band back in ’99 you can bet your bottom dollar that I would be literally shouting, screaming and hollowing their name straight at you and at every given opportunity, they would have been my Coldplay. But lets face it, it isn’t 1999, it’s 2001 and like the date I’ve also moved on. I’ve moved on from my ‘Indie Shmindie’ loving days, I don’t just want a band who can knock out countless heart rendering songs, I don’t just want a band where the singer can hold a note and the band keep a decent tune, I want all this and more, I want that little bit extra… that’s exactly what Haven are lacking.
Musically speaking Haven are fantastic... “Technically” the singer has this amazing voice, “technically” the guitar playing is quite superb and “technically” everything is pitch perfect and faultlessly timed throughout. But all this is wasted in a succession of seemingly samey and rather drab songs were each verse rolls into the chorus and each chorus into another verse... And it doesn’t take long before each song rolls into the next, soon to become completely indistinguishable from the last.
Each track seems to follow the same set pattern, about the same set ideals- classic clichéd ideas of lost love and relationships. Maybe I just wasn’t listening hard enough but literally every song chorus seemed to revolve around the word ‘Stay’. This set-song formula may work once, maybe twice, but definitely not three times. The only memorable song had to be ‘Out Of Reach’, even though it wasn’t shockingly different in set-up, the ideas, ideals and tone all seemed to differentiate from the rest. This track was certainly a welcome break, with vocal superiority diffusing through the room and instrumental mastery apparent for all to see. Had I heard this song alone on the radio, maybe my opinion of Haven would be higher quite frankly I was disappointed. In this case musically superiority and technical ability were not enough to pull them through, don’t get me wrong, this band have real talent, and a wealth of potential, they just need the songs to back it up.
In Reflection, The Bigger The God should stick to their day jobs, Haven should reduce their set or use different chords/ideas/motives and Biffy Clyro should have been headlining. They are a band for the future and certainly one to watch out for- a band that really come to life when playing live.
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