Biffy Clyro Live with  Vant Live Belsonic 2016 in support to biffy along with lonely the brave’ Jun25

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Biffy Clyro Live with Vant Live Belsonic 2016 in support to biffy along with lonely the brave’

 

Biffy Clyro/Lonely The Brave/Vant

Belsonid, Belfast, 25th June

BIFFY Clyro have played Belfast’s Belsonic Festival three times, most recently in 2014, and have been frequent visitors to the city. But when they took to the stage it was perhaps one of the more unusual trips.

With Northern Ireland playing in the last 16 of the Euros Football tournament, organisers decided to open the gates two and a half hours early and show the entire game on the big screen that would ultimately be part of Biffy’s stage show.

Hundreds of fans were already queuing – as many wearing their team’s football shirts as Biffy shirts – eager not to miss kick off and get a good spot for later on.

Ultimately Northern Ireland were to lose out to Wales, but the vocal support for the team’s success in getting that far in the tournament was to augur well for later on.

Indeed when Vant took to the stage after the excitement of the game they must have had the biggest crowd any opener at Belsonic have ever had.

Unfortunately for them, the deflation after the defeat and lengthening queues for food and other refreshments meant a large percentage of the audience weren’t focussed on what was an energetic enough performance.

Lonely The Brave, on the other hand gathered a growing number of punters down to stage front. Their alt rock is a compliment to the headliners and David Jakes is a solid front man, cajoling the crowd and prowling the stage.

Several of the early songs stood out, with ‘Black Mire’ and ‘Dust and Bones’ in particular working well. Mark Trotter and Ross Smithwick guitars work well together, but the set seemed to fade towards the end.

Perhaps it was the alcohol consumed since 4:40pm, or perhaps the audience needed some more sustenance, but Jakes several times asked if the crowd were looking forward to seeing Biffy to energise those in the arena.

With light slowly fading, and the iconic Harland and Wolff cranes serving as a backdrop to the stage, any tiredness sloughed off the backs of the crowd as Biffy Clyro took to the stage with a welcoming roar.

Less than half a mile from where crucial parts of Game of Thrones were filmed Simon Neil, James Johnston and Ben Johnston produced their own epic.

In an almost flawless set the band showed why they are accomplished stadium rockers. Their birth came at a time in late 90s and early 2000s means that they attract an eclectic mix of a crowd. Rockers, indie fans, metal heads, and, as a result of their more recent success, Radio One listeners and pop fans.

But all are primed as ‘Wolves of Winter’ from forthcoming album ‘Ellipsis’ rolled off the stage.

Neil, as usual with his guitar slung high on his naked torso, was full of banter and mischievous jokery.

Of course, the more familiar tracks earned the biggest response, but such is the devotion and appreciation for what Biffy Clyro do on stage that they could have played an entire set of new songs and would have had all but part-time fans applauding.

Whether it was poignant melodies or complex rock songs the band are tight and precise, without ever sounding soulless.

The Johnston brothers – James and Ben – are obviously enjoying themselves on tracks such as ‘Living is a Problem’, with the touring members of the band staying out of the spotlight.

The stage set was, as always compelling, without over-shadowing the music, which at times wafted and at times rolled over the Belsonic arena like a tsunami of emotions.

At times a strengthening breeze affected the sound – the arena is sited in the city’s Titanic Quarter and is exposed to the winds off Belfast Lough – but that was the only quibble on the night, and an issue beyond the control of band or organisers.

‘Bubbles’, ‘Captain’ and ‘Black Chandelier’ were all outstanding and the set ended with the usual salute from many in the audience: “Mon the Biffy!”

This was the first year that the Belsonic Festival moved from its city centre location, out to near where the iconic Titanic was built. But no-one had any sinking feelings as they filed out into the night. Biffy Clyro could probably raise the wreck of the ship with the power they generated on stage.

 

 

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