Skip to main content

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



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Nomanslanding

Tramway, Glasgow until July 2nd
Four stars

In the dead of night, the audience are split in two and led under-cover into lamp-lit tented structures. Inside, what look like peasant women on the run lead us down a ramp and into a large circular pod. It feels part cathedral, part space-ship, and to come blinking into the light of such a fantastical structure after stumbling in the dark disorientates and overwhelms. Sat around the pod as if awaiting prayers to begin, we watch as performers Nerea Bello and Judith Williams incant mournfully on either side of the room. Their keening chorales embark on a voyage of their own, twisting around each other by way of the international language of singing. As if in sympathy, the walls wail and whisper, before starting to move as those on either side of the pod are left stranded, a gulf between them.

This international co-commission between Glasgow Life and the Merchant City Festival, Sydney Harbour Foreshaw Authority in Australia and Urbane Kienste …

High Society

Pitlochry Festival Theatre
Four stars

The stage looks gift-wrapped with a sparklingly expensive bow at the opening of John Durnin's revival of Arthur Kopit's Cole Porter based musical that reinvigorates the starry 1956 film where it originated. With the film itself drawing from Philip Barry's play, The Philadelphia Story, Kopit and Porter's depiction of the Long Island jet set says much about over-privileged party people, but retains a fizz that keeps it going till all passion is seemingly spent.
The action is based around the forthcoming nuptials of drop-dead gorgeous society gal and serial bride, Tracy Lord. With her daddy having run off with a show-girl, and ex beau next door CK Dexter Haven set sail for other shores, Tracy settles for George, a stinking rich would-be president for whom stupidity, as someone observes, sits on his shoulders like a crown. Enter Tracy's match-making kid sister Dinah and a pair of reporters for a trashy scandal sheet looking to stit…