Seasoned veterans of larger arenas since 2007’s Puzzle hurled them onto daytime radio, Biffy Clyro are now entirely at home in venues the size of the Marquee, dicing between their grunge roots and their orchestral moments at ease. The trio are in flying form, taking to the tops of the amps and the edges of the stage on numerous occasions, with frontman Simon Neil wearing a leprechaun hat and a Cork flag tossed from the crowd.
The set opens with a rollicking rendition of ‘Different People’ before the band tear through heavy versions of ‘That Golden Rule’ and ‘The Captain’, the distortion obscuring much of the vocals. The ferocious bass of Ben Johnston powers through the tent, sometimes a little too much at times and, while ‘Living is a Problem’ and ‘Who’s Got a Match’ follow a similar pattern, the trio find their feet in the latter stages of the set. ‘Bubbles’ is most certainly the highlight of an energetic, robust set, the crowd scarcely missing a beat.
A raucous admiration fills the tent as a full voiced rendition of ‘Many of Horror’ follows the tour debut of ‘Questions and Answers’ from 2003’s The Vertigo of Bliss, its first appearance since 2009. It’s a clever placement of tracks that illustrate the yin and yang of a band that have undergone a complete transformation in a decade. Sweaty, dank underground clubs to the X Factor – it is a point that still grinds on the gears of some veteran fans, though the reception that’s afforded to ‘Many of Horror’ suggests that the issue was, at least, temporarily subsiding.
Neil performs solo renditions of ‘Machines’ and ‘God & Satan’, the more tender tracks coming across as far more assured and rehearsed than some of the more boisterous numbers. That said, ‘Black Chandelier’ and ‘Stinging Belle’ work perfectly, ensuring that the set culminates on all the right notes before the night comes to a close with ‘Mountains’, the refrain echoing among the crowd as they file out into the Cork evening.
It isn’t quite fair to say the show is an opportunity missed but the pieces of the puzzle don’t quite fit together. Always successful in bringing international acts to an audience outside of the capital, the Marquee nonetheless faces the problems of any temporary venue and tonight highlights that. When it all settles down though, Biffy sound superb and the inclusion of a near-forgotten gem amongst the hits means that it’s another memorable Leeside night.
Photo: Kieran Frost