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Biffy Clyro At Madison Square Garden, Monday, April 15th, 2013, Reviewed

“We are the warm up band, are you feeling warm yet?”, Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil inquired pleasantly as he performed the task of warmer upper for Muse masterfully indeed at Madison Square Garden on Monday evening. And I guess Biffy Clyro were warm enough, though three of the form members of the band came on stage without a shirt from the get go, so mybe they started the night that way.

I’ve never been a big fan of Biffy Clyro, there is a saminess and predictability about their sound. A riff giant who can write a melody but can’t write themselves large, they seem like a wannabe Stateside though they are well loved in the UK. Nothing kicks in hard enough and album after album isn’t bad but isn’t good. But maybe the band needs to be seen live to be understood

On stage… on stage, on stage Simon has been doing this since he was 15 years old and it shows. The band are pros, neither in awe or nor indifferent to their surroundings, the set is a jet propelled wonder with two terrific songs, the Celtic inspirational “Stingin’ Bells” replete with piped in bagpipes, and the superb “Biblical” a ballad which won’t act like one,  so good live, you have to wonder if  it’s the producer who is botching the job on record.

It sets the tone for a fast paced 45 minute set of hard rock played with a smart intensity and playfulness that is nothing but fun. All four band members, in their 30s now, are youthful and energetic, they are like Red Hot Chili Peppers but not soundwise: more in a stage wise bravura. They move similarly, shake the same, and like I said, don’t believe in shirts.

The penultimate moment of the nine song set, “Black Chandelier” is introduced with a “Singalong if you know it.” Nobody sings along. That could change, you know.

Grade: A-

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