The mighty Biffy Clyro came from their natural habitat of Eastern Europe to play a string of shows in the States, bringing New York-based rockers Spirit Animal along for the ride. They came bearing music from their most recent record— last year’s Ellipsis— along with material from their previous three albums: 2007’s Puzzle, 2009’s Only Revolutions, and 2013’s Opposites.
Spirit Animal kicked the night off with their brand of groovy hard rock and infectious energy. They played material from their newest EP, World War IV, as well as a few unreleased, exclusively-live tracks. Guitarist Cal Stamp has a real knack for funk-laden riffs, and backed by ferocious singer Steve Cooper, the band was a force to be reckoned with. The crowd seemed to feed off of their energy, which lead nicely into the main attraction.
Fans of Biffy Clyro are and strangers to getting sweaty while at a gig- mostly because singer and guitarist Simon Neil sweats the equivalent of a small swimming pool at every show. In a manner befitting the band’s unique humor, the band stood completely still after walking out on stage to a roaring crowd, waiting for the opening sounds of Ellipsis’s opening track, “Wolves of Winter”, after which they proceeded to lose their minds. After tearing through ragers including “That Golden Rule” and the new “In The Name of the Wee Man”, the band settled down for the new acoustic track “Medicine”. That’s one of the band’s primary talents- the ability to go from tear-your-face-off-and-eat-it hard rock to tear-jerking acoustic balladry at the drop of a hat, and not have it be completely whiplash-inducing.
Sure, Biffy Clyro is no stranger to the love song, but Simon writes from a self-deprecating position that makes the listener sympathize. Even when he uses grotesque metaphors, like his “human bag” that he drags around and upon whose chest he writes lyrics as found in “A Tragic World Record”, it’s not to distance himself from the listener. Biffy fans don’t go into a show expecting sanity, after all. And that wasn’t what they got on May 10 at Mr. Small’s Theater, much to everyone’s delight.