Entering the Palais on a Sunday night came with a little apprehension as to how this was all going to go down. Let’s face it, sitting down and rock show go together like chalk and cheese.
We may have been let off lightly for the first few songs during the Calling All Cars set, but the sparsely filled seats were soon emptied again, replaced with a crowd willingly obliging to a request to stand in time for Raise the People.
Returning to a home stage, the band seemed a perfectly fitting support by those present despite being told that ‘bands like us don’t play venues like this’. So it’s not everyday when a mic stand is placed in a middle of an aisle in the way of unsuspecting arrivals being ushered into their seats. This evening was the opportune time, complete with climbing across unoccupied seats and clearly not content with restricting climbing to the stage. One could only suspect that these antics are displayed few and far between at the Palais.
Standing for Biffy Clyro came without request – as soon as the lights went down, even before the band arrived on stage. Fears of a stagnant show stamped out, the cheers quickly turned into singing along with Different People. This was going to be good.
But apparently everyone wasn’t playing along with the standing game, probably not the best thing to do when sitting in the front row and in clear view of Simon Neil. That called for a direct request to stand…even if it was just before a slow tune.
Sure there was lots of intense rock packed into the set, but this was all about opposites and contradictions, delivering an explosive, impenetrable wall of sound against mellower lyrical melody but more importantly knowing how and when to create the balance.
The music came with the occasional check in with the crowd, and copious thank you’s throughout the night. But the music kept coming, the clash of delicate sounds and funky riff before dropping into the chorus of Victory of the Sun, the massive singalong to Biblical and then being asked if were ready to sing again. Of course there was no objection, being blown away by an acoustic solo of God and Satan.
But it was time to plug in and rock again, and before long the mammoth sounds, synced beats and heads in motion came, tight and precise for a killer Living is a Problem.
The whispered introduction of the anticipated Black Chandelier received to raucous cheers, Michael Jackson’s monkey stopping by (Bubbles), more solo treats from Simon Neil. The chants, stomps and beating of chair backs leading to the encore spoke for those present….no one was ready to go yet.
Mountains was an epic finish, as we were reminded that the band on stage was Biffy f*ckin’ Clyro, just like the t-shirt said.
This one gets towards the top of the list for fave gigs of the year…not sure exactly where yet, but it’s up there.