Biffy Clyro’s Saturday show for iTunes at the Roundhouse had plenty of hits, but still seemed to be missing something.
Appearing onstage stripped to the waist, perhaps a minute after the surge from iTunes’ mechanised countdown had died away, the band started well with rousing renditions of Stingin Belle and The Captain, before seeming to drift a bit for several songs.
After a less than forceful Folding Stars and Strung to your Ribcage, frontman Neil Simon managed to pull the show back together with a solo performance of God & Satan, before Who’s Got a Match? Dragged the crowd back to their feet and got them jumping.
Perhaps the corporate, free-ballot nature of the gig didn’t help the atmosphere, with some people appearing a little lost, a fact reinforced by the fact recent-talent-show-tosspot-covered* Many of Horror seemed to be the most popular song of the evening. And perhaps this fed back into the somewhat lacklustre performance, but the band’s heart didn’t seem to really be in it.
Early hit Liberate the Illiterate was a welcome treat, and the band’s light and smoke show seemed to life the mood a little, especially the smoke filled accompaniment to the song Bubbles. Closing song Mountains was anthemic as always, and meant the audience will have departed happy and humming (and in one drunken case loudly singing – or rather, mis-singing – the refrain over and over and over).
The band has the songs, they have the experience, and on good days they have the balls to make a great performance, but on Saturday two out of three seemed to have been left backstage.
Special mention should go to support act Frightened Rabbit, torchbearing celt-rockers akin to We Were Promised Jetpacks, whose driving yet harmonic spell really set the scene for the headline act.
*I would have been more concise, but couldn’t remember his name, or which show he’d been on, ’til I trawled Youtube.