Best Concerts of Sziget 2017 #4: Biffy Clyro

In all honestly, I am still not totally sold on Biffy Clyro musically speaking. They have finally begun to sound like something, which is progress, albeit perhaps a late one, given that we’re seven studio albums into their career. It’s just that this something is very odd, and most poignantly, uneven. I keep getting surprised by the alternation of heartfelt ballads with angry riffs and radio friendly pop tunes. It’s like the guys woke up in the morning and before breakfast they felt a bit James Blunt, or to put it less bluntly, Chris Martin. Then they overdosed on the coffee and went all Linkin Park. And finally, exhausted by all that exertion, they decided to write something Simon Cowell could have entrusted to one of his puppet bands to make it a UK number 1 hit.

I therefore do this horrible thing whereby I start listening to them, make a firm promise that I will make it to the end of the album, and then suddenly have an unconquerable itch to switch and end up, well, sometimes on another one of their records, but more often than not, listening to a completely different band altogether. As a consequence, I pretty much disregarded their previous, headline slot outing to the island. Or better said I did that thing when you go to the Main Stage late-ish and find one of those traffic prone spots where everyone is shuffling for a beer or to find their friend Bob who ran into the crowd at 5 PM and was not heard of since, although he tried calling people during concerts repeatedly but all you got was static.

This is of course not the way to enjoy the actual music, so this time around I found a more strategic location, close to a large crowd of French people, of whom some were ginger, which made people confuse them with Scots. This in turn made them very happy, and they repeated several times (insert heavy French accent here): Biffy ahhrre Scotthish thooo! Instead of kilts, though, the boys went for a range of what could only be called yoga pants, in warrior like harmony with their bare chests, soon glistening with sweat due to the sweltering afternoon. This sounds dangerously close to an Instagram version of a Bikram yoga session, but I must break the joyful news that it was very much a rock concert.

There was a raw energy in their delivery which made all the elements which might seem disconnected in the polished environment of a record suddenly fuse into something coherent. It might sound stereotype or overblown, but there was a certain honesty too: here we are a rock band from Scotland and we’ve come to play some music, and we’re going to give our best to do it as well as possible. Finally, at least some of the fuss about them made sense: they are a great live band, and that’s much harder to nail than a collection of good songs helped along by good producers. I might thus skip one or two of these songs on the record, but I won’t skip a Biffy Clyro live show in my proximity ever again.

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