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Biffy Clyro, Idlewild, Honeyblood - Concert in The Gardens 2015

Edinburgh's Hogmanay
Four stars

Atmosphere may have been to the fore in the build up to Biffy Clyro's first live show in over a year, but when astronaut Tim Peake beamed down a pre-bells message from space, it all but stole everybody's thunder. By that time Idlewild's impeccably mannered frontman Roddy Woomble had predicted that it was too cold for even Biffy's vocalist and guitarist Simon Neil to take his top off, only for Neil to prove him wrong. With be-jerkined bass player James Johnston being the only band member to be sporting anything above the waist, what there was of Neil's billowing outfit gave him the appearance of a genie who had just burst free of his bottle.

Prior to this, Honeyblood's duo of singer and guitarist Stina Tweedale and drummer Cat Myers offset any potential for boys club machismo with a set of raw, drawled-out pop-rock bounce, while Idlewild's surprisingly funky brand of literate Celtic-tinged rock was the sound of a band in their grown-up prime.

With some very loud-looking speakers stacked up onstage, Biffy Clyro entered after a pre-show spin of Motorhead's Ace of Spades set the tone of things to come. Sure enough, while some of the band's stadium-size epics are leavened with a down-home sentimental warmth, new material from the forthcoming follow-up to 2013's Opposites album suggests that Biffy's fleshed-out line-up are keen to get back to their sludgier, less anthemic roots. With all three bands having honed their craft in the sort of small venues that property developers and city planners would rather bulldoze away, this in itself was testament to their worth in what might well be a very loud 2016.

The Herald, January 4th 2015
 
ends



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