There were some doubters when Biffy Clyro were announced as headliners for the Saturday of Download Festival 2017; but the band took the opportunity to prove that they are much more than worthy of the honour.
The loyal fanbase of Biffy Clyro have been through a lot through the years, from their albums going through genre changes which have seen them less punk and more pop-rock, and even ‘Many Of Horrors’ being used as an X Factor song. We don’t expect they like being reminded of that. But the Scots set at Download showed fans and non-fans alike that they can put on one Hell of a show.
The threesome exploded onto the stage with ‘Wolves Of Winter’ from their seventh and latest album Ellipsis, the crowd were hooked. It seemed like everyone watching was singing along, but maybe they were just pretty good at guessing the words. ‘Living Is A Problem Because Everyone Dies’ was met with equalled, or if possible more enthusiasm from the crowd, and Biffy looked like they were absolutely lapping it up. Impossibly tight when performing live, and despite the drizzle that came in, the band played like their lives depended on it.
Between a lot of cries of ‘Mon The Biff from the crowd, the band played hits like ‘Black Chandlier’ and ‘Who’s Got A Match?’ with an energy and precision that is hard to find in a band that have been together for over 20 years. It’s obvious from their stage performance that they never get tired of playing songs they must have played hundreds of times, because the people they play to never fail to turn-up, dance, and singalong.
Their set wasn’t just full of hits and old favourites though; ‘In The Name Of The Wee Man’ and ‘Only Revolutions’ were met with just as much glee from the crowd as anything else. One of the highlights of the set was frontman Simon Neill’s performance of ‘Medicine’ which prompted a beautiful singalong from the crowd. ‘God And Satan’, which was performed acoustically, was met with the same response; and that many people singing the same thing all at once is a real show of the loyal fanbase Biffy have cultivated over the years.
It seemed like even Biffy couldn’t believe they had been chosen to headline Download Festival alongside rock legends Aerosmith, and they took several opportunities to talk about how excited they were to see them play, including starting singalongs with the crowd of ‘Walk This Way’ and ‘Don’t Wanna Close Your Eyes’. It was humbling to see the band paying tribute and really appreciating the gravity that is a headlining slot at one of the UK’s – and the world’s biggest rock festivals.
The graphics on stage were beautiful; from 3D colourful cubes to lightbulbs that smashed, it was very atmospheric and fitting to each song they played, and added to the personal experience for each individual person watching.
The performance ended with a spectacular firework display from the top of the stage, that left the audience in awe. The band chose ‘Stingin’ Belle’ as their closer, and Neill’s vocals, the melodies and drum beat complimented the fireworks perfectly. It was an epic end to an absolutely epic set.