Review: Biffy Clyro and Frightened Rabbit @ HMV Forum

By chloeg Last edited 176 months ago

Last Updated 21 October 2009

Review: Biffy Clyro and Frightened Rabbit @ HMV Forum

Oo er missus: Biffy Clyro's Simon Neil makes everyone swoon, even the well-built Scottish heterosexuals
There's a sold out, sticky, sweaty, sensous Scottish feeling in the air in Kentish Town, as the next Q Awards night is upon us. Playing the support role ain't easy (especially when you're on before the mighty Biffy Clyro), but surely it's easier if you are a simply brilliant band like Selkirk's Frightened Rabbit. A criminally unaware audience looks on as FR chip away at any reticience with their Celtic burr, melodic, heartswaying subtleties and rousing riffs. They run through songs including Music Now, Square 9, Old Old Fashioned, The Modern Leper and an extended version of I Feel Better. Two albums of heartbreak and it sounds like vocalist Scott Hutchinson has fallen in love: new material sounds faster and more upbeat, but equally exciting live.

And then to the headline act. There's no such thing as a perfect live band, but if you wanted to isolate all the elements that give a live rock band greatness, you might expect the list to go a little like this:

- mesmerising frontman/woman

- bruising, hardcore rock followed by moments of tense melodic respite

- heartfelt, anthemic, singalong lyrics

or something. And with Biffy Clyro these ingredients bubble around the cauldron in loud, neat synergy, resulting in the kind of puzzlingly optimum output most bands will never achieve.

Opening with new track 'That Golden Rule' and running through songs from debut 'Blackened Sky' and latest album 'Puzzle' (nothing at all from the middle two albums) including 'Justboy', 'Hero Management', 'Saturday Superhouse', 'Get Fucked Stud', 'Who's Got a Match', 'Machines' and finishing with 'Mountains', Biffy are visceral, powerful and possessive of that elusive spark. Perhaps it stems from the concoction of sincerity and intensity, their ability as a band underlined by their gratitude and all-round nice guy status.

Brimming with enough sexuality to disarm pretty much any gender or sexual orientation, Simon Neil is powerful as ever. Pop music is often a conflation of the sonic and the sexual, and Neil standing Christ-like, sweat dripping from the roots down to the tips of his hair, voice contorting, naked girlish torso covered in tattoos, is just about as evocative as you can get.

The songs may have moved more in the direction of on than off kilter, the crowds more mainstream, but Biffy still have 'it', as if 'it' is ingrained in their blood, the fizzing chemical reaction that can transform, and reaffirm, and reawake.

Image from StephenMcleod's photostream under the Creative Commons Licence