By Mary Chang
on Friday, 25th October 2013 at 4:00 pm
2013 Reading/Leeds headliners Biffy Clyro asked their fans to send in their best and favourite bits of their own collections of video clips seeing the Scottish band on tour and at festivals this summer. Then they slapped everything together for this one pretty stunning video, allowing the viewer vantage points of the band from both close up and far away, soundtracked to ‘Sounds Like Balloons’, their next single out on the 25th of November on 14th Floor Records. Watch the video below.
‘Sounds Like Balloons’ features on the band’s 2013 ‘Opposites’ double album, which hit #1 on the UK albums chart earlier this year.
With the 5-day hangover building to its climatic crescendo on the Sunday of Reading 2013, I emerged bleary eyed and in no-way bushy tailed from my fungus-ridden excuse for a tent that I called home for the festival. My head was pounding, and the inevitability that I would be off for a stroll to the seemingly-bottomless troughs full of human shit hit me right about the face – the all too familiar scent hitting my nose and immediately frying all of the hairs that laced the inside of my nasal cavity.
With my daily pulled pork baguette (delightfully middle–classed festival truck) bought, as I entered the arena I set about a new music adventure, stumbling into the Festival Republic Tent to watch Aussie indie-pop darlings San Cisco. In direct contrast to yesterday’s new music samplings in the form of Nightworks, San Cisco were tight as a live act and had some real dynamism about their live show, plus Awkward is a tune to boot. Jordi Davieson proved to be an affable frontman, but in drummer and co-vocalist Scarlett Stevens they have a real personality behind the kit. These guys are undoubtedly ones to watch. (8/10)
The Lock-Up Stage is a haven for ear-splitting riffs and circle pits that whir with immense ferocity. So a no-frills, no bullshit rock and roll band like The Virginmarys were always going to feel at home in the tight surroundings of the tent. No light shows, no bullshit, just rock ‘n’ roll was what was contained in this 40-ish minute set. The closer ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’ went down stormingly to the crowd who had slowly milled into the tent after hearing the brutal wave of sound emanating from the tent, whilst ‘Just A Ride’ was simply ferocious, head-banging gluttony. (8.5/10)
From a rock show, to a punk rock show, with Massachusetts-based noise-mongers California X in the Festival Republic Tent. On record the band sounded tight and in time with each other, unshockingly. However, in a live setting the set seemed a touch disjointed. Perhaps nerves got the better of the band, all clad in black? The wall of noise that fell upon the slowly dissipating crowd didn’t impress anyone, and while they appropriately turned it up to 11, it seemed it just wasn’t California X’s day. An opportunity missed entirely, for the fledgling punks. (5/10)
Easily one of the highlights of the weekend was this next band, Arcane Roots. Andrew Groves’ cheekiest of cheeky smiles when the drop came during ‘Energy is Never Lost, Just Redirected’ showed just how much the band were enjoying the ensuing mass of circle pits in front of them. Adam Burton’s bass cut through the sprawled crowd like thunder cracks and Daryl Atkins’ drumming was sublime. There was no mid-set lull in their performance, instead a constant roar of frets being shredded amongst an adoring roar from the crowd. To say these guys were destined to play a bigger stage and follow in the footsteps of their contemporaries, of the headliners of the day, would just be stating the bloody obvious… But I will. Main Stage openers next year. (9.5/10)
With a mad dash across the arena, I made it to the Radio 1/NME Tent, where Glastonbury conquerors Haim were setting about their next conquest: a group of around 20,000 hungover 20-somethings. What was the reaction of these gurning revellers to the band’s set? Tittering at Este Haim’s frankly ridiculous face when the bassist concentrated on playing her instrument.
People came expecting the hits that Haim had to offer and were satisfied with early play-outs of ‘Don’t Save Me’ and ‘Falling’, which meant most of the audience could filter out in the direction of Fall Out Boy. But not this reviewer; I stuck it out to the end so I could catch the frankly gorgeous Alana Haim going full rock star and thrashing about on stage. Not exactly the most ladylike of exits from Haim, but definitely befitting the festival they were playing at. However, when what sticks best in your mind about the set is one of the band’s grimaces, it was never going to have been a classic. (7/10)
I joined the pilgrimage to the Main Stage to join in on the worship of the erstwhile stars they have now become, the stars being Fall Out Boy of course. After an electric set in 2009 that had teenage girls crossing their legs in excitement and this one teenage boy screaming every lyric back, it was nostalgia that ruled this day. The hits were rolled out like a red carpet, but it wasn’t Pete Wentz strolling up to the opening of Fall Out Boy 2.0. It was their true frontman Patrick Stump, who after the hiatus has come back re-energised, more svelte and more the frontman he is meant to be, the kind of frontman that the band deserves. Single ‘My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)’ was obviously created for the live arena, as the entire crowd became unified in a kind of hip-hop rock mash-up of arm bopping. However, while Stump looked rejuvenated, it seemed like Wentz wasn’t exactly revelling in the lack of limelight, as he wore a face like a slapped arse for the entire set, until he was released for the crescendo, ‘Saturday’. (7/10)
With a mission to avoid the psychosis-inducing catastrophe of noise that is Trent Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails complete, the headliners Biffy Clyro were gearing up to bring the weekend to a close. The worry with a band that have climbed the echelons of the festival billing, by paying their dues and performing a total of eight times across different stages, is that their sound may not be the BIG sound of a headliner. They may not have the mass appeal of an Eminem, or the tunes and fanaticism of fans of, say, a Green Day.
Within I’d say 30 seconds all worries were dispelled, as Simon Neil announced himself as the headliner to end all headliners. The understated intro of ‘Different People’ with Neil in front of a plain backdrop had all of the hairs standing up on my neck, and as the riff kicked in and the cloth dropped to reveal the album artwork for ‘Opposites’, it was obvious that Biffy weren’t here to make up numbers. They were here to conquer.
‘That Golden Rule’ proved why moshing is fucking ace, a rare playing of ‘Folding Stars’ brought grown men to tears (I had something in my eye, alright?), ‘57’ was a nod to the past in spectacular fashion and ‘Mountains’ was the sing-along that other sing-alongs aspire to.
It used to be the argument that you were either a post-‘Puzzle’ or pre-‘Puzzle’ fan, a pretender/jonny come lately or a seasoned Biffy veteran. But at Reading 2013, Biffy Clyro cemented themselves as festival headlining staples. A headline slot at Wembley Stadium surely waits in the future. Mon the Biff. (10/10)
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 26th August 2013 at 4:00 pm
Wherever you were this bank holiday weekend, Reading or not, and maybe as long as you aren’t Trent Reznor busy throwing a hissy fit and being an ugly American, thanks to the BBC you can watch Biffy Clyro’s entire set from last night here. (As usual with BBC videos, it looks to be UK only, so apologies to anyone outside the UK.)
I haven’t actually talked to John yet but assume he’s alive and will be bringing you coverage of the sets and exclusive interviews here on TGTF shortly.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 26th July 2013 at 6:00 pm
It’s time you joined the cult of Simon Neil. (No joke. This statement was in the email I received from a PR this week about this very Biffy Clyro video.) ‘Victory Over the Sun’ is the Scottish trio’s next single, out on the 8th of September on 14th Floor Records, and here’s the promo. It starts rather un-Biffy before it truly gets going, but I imagine it will get the masses moshing at Reading and Leeds next month. Watch the video below.
Festival season is fast approaching and the picturesque images of rolling hills, covered in revellers swigging lukewarm cider move ever-closer. Rain or shine, a festival is an atmosphere unbeknownst, to anyone who hasn’t been a merrymaker at these events. People band together, the person in the tent next to you becomes your best mate and personal hygiene goes well and truly out of the window, to be forgotten until the pleasure of a shower on the Monday morning.
No festival epitomises the festival spirit more than Reading and Leeds. Where the abundance of top rock acts are complimented by the intense variety you can bear witness to. One minute you can be watching an unsigned acoustic troubadour from Shoreditch on the BBC Introducing Stage, only to go on the next starring world-beaters from across the Atlantic, with their own musicals and platinum selling albums on the Main Stage.
2013 will be no different with the Main Stage playing host to the Real Slim Shady, Eminem, who will surely bring all his theatrics and the tunes that we all know and love to the festival. Meanwhile, Green Day (pictured at top), System of a Down and Biffy Clyro will be raising hell with their huge riffs.
Live action specialists Pure Love will be returning to reading and Leeds after recording the video to Riot Song at the festival last year. Anyone who has seen Frank Carter in his previous mantle as Gallows‘ frontman will know that he brings a live-wired energy to his live performances, and with Pure Love alongside Jim Carroll, Frank ups the ante to bring a set which will be a must see at the festival. In a tent, chaos will ensue.
TGTF dance favourites Fenech-Soler have slowly been ploughing away, working their butts off and producing some of the catchiest electropop that is out in the ether at the moment. Their set on the Radio 1 Dance Stage will be a sure-fire way to dance off that Saturday hangover.
Another TGTF favourite Lucy Rose is returning to the festival after her triumphant set last year and her appearance with close bros Bombay Bicycle Club. This year her indie-folk stylings can be sampled on the Festival Republic Stage alongside one of the most understated, yet brilliant bands of the last decade British Sea Power.
The brand new Rock Stage will be headlined by debut performers Shikari Sound System, Enter Shikari’s lesser known alias. Lining up beneath them festival veterans and victims of a power cut in 2009 on the Main Stage Funeral for a Friend, Wade McNiel-fronted Gallows, plus Northern Irish band And So I Watch You From Afar. Adding to the talent on the Main Stage are pop-punkers We Are The In Crowd, festival specialists Skindred with their unique reggae metal sound and British punk rock band Lower Than Atlantis.
Weekend tickets are still available for the 23rd to the 25th August 2013 Bank Holiday Weekend, at a price of £202.50 before booking fees. Buy them here on the official Reading and Leeds festival Web sites.