Tonight Custom House Square, Belfast plays host to every rock fan’s dream. A line-up featuring Welsh rockers, Lostprophets and the incredible Biffy Clyro with support from Twin Atlantic and local thrash heroes Fighting With Wire.
Twin Atlantic have the daunting task of opening the night. The Scottish foursome make an admirable attempt at the challenge with their short but impressive set. Their brand of melodic rock draws a reasonably sized mosh pit to the front of the stage. Queue the first instance of crowd surfing for the evening. The band’s blend of cello, drums and hard hitting guitar combined with the sheer energy of their stage presence distracts the crowds from the bars and sets them gravitating toward the stage.
Derry lads Fighting With Wire take to the stage next. Their rock anthem Everyone Needs a Nemesis soon has the assembled head banging at break neck speed and leaping around as though their lives depended on it. Front man, Cahir O’Doherty, steals the show, with his banter smoothing over a lull brought on by technical difficulties and his wailing vocals completing the bands punky, thrashy sound. He prances around the stage like a man possessed, head banging until it looks as though it might detach itself from the rest of him. The band’s set closes with a bout of guitar trashing much appreciated by the crowd. The local talent can be sure they’ve done themselves proud.
On then to the first of the night’s big acts, Lostprophets make an energy laden entrance, speakers mounted and playing with fierce attitude. The band’s set is an awesome run through of their best anthems. This marathon kick starts with a punch in the guts rendition of Can’t Catch Tomorrow (Good Shoes Won’t Save You Now). Burn, Burn sets the crowd into a frenzy, hands in the air, spitting Ian Watkins lyrics right back at him. As the first downpour of the evening sets in, Watkins makes the crowd forget the rain, commanding them to jump up and down to Lostprophets classics Shinobi vs. Dragon Ninja and The Fake Sound of Progress, flying drinks and crowd surfing abound. Somewhere in the midst of this head banging madness a thoughtful fan thinks to throw Watkins their plastic poncho which he puts on after several minutes struggle.
Our energetic blast through the bands finest thumps on with the crowd chanting word perfect along to likes of It’s Not The End Of The World…, A Town Called Hypocrisy and Last Train Home. Lostprophets round off their pretty much damn near perfect performance with an airing of Rooftops, the crowd screaming the chorus at the top of their lungs, and a cover of The Prodigy’s Omen, which (dare I say it) is possibly better than the original. The Welsh metal heads leave the crowd on a high and wanting more.
Tonight, however, belongs to Biffy Clyro. ‘Mon the Biff’ is everywhere you look, on t-shirts and scrawled over shirtless chests and foreheads. ‘Give us the Biffy’ has been a common cry all night and one the former acts have had to put up with. So it’s no surprise you can feel the excitement in the air, despite the torrential rain and icy cold.
Three shirtless men burst onstage as the sound of That Golden Rule hits five thousand screaming fans. Biffy have arrived. Simon Neil stands atop a speaker, newly peroxide blonde beard and hair complete with pink trousers, leaning towards his audience with a confidence that knows the crowd are theirs tonight. It’s the kind of entrance that not only lives up to the hype but reminds you why Biffy Clyro are one of the best bands on the planet.
As possibly the best ever intro to a song rings out across Custom House Square, we’re plunged into Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies, a pristine performance with Neil hard at work punishing his guitar and belting out note perfect vocals. The energy is set to low as Biffy guide the crowd through a serious and haunting rendition of Bubbles and current single God and Satan. Every voice here chants alongside Neil, it’s a moment to send shivers down your spine and appreciate the moving majesty that’s to be found in Biffy’s mellower moments.
The flawless Mountains is next to echo its way across Belfast, the crowds anthem for this evening, voices and hands are raised in salute. It’s followed by the attitude heavy Born On A Horse, a favourite with its edgy guitar and catchy lyrics, Biffy’s audience get a new lease of life matched only by Neil’s energy onstage. The band delve into their back catalogue as Simon introduces Some Kind Of Wizard and Bodies In Flight, hardened Biffy fans are separated from those familiar the recent sounds of Puzzle and Only Revolutions. Despite this, the crowd laps up the raw power in Biffy’s heavier roots, embracing the force with which the band play, frankly it makes you a bit afraid to get on the wrong side of them.
Biffy leave the stage to chants for ‘one more tune’ and they don’t disappoint. As they swagger back onstage, Simon teasingly announces ‘We’re back.’ And they most certainly are. Biffy wind up the night with a fierce performance of Cloud Of Stink and closing song, The Captain. The Captain sees both band and crowd jumping about like human bouncy balls. Simon and bassist James end on a high, eventually hurl themselves into the arms of the waiting crowd.
Yes tonight has been a dream come true for rock fans, it’s been a pick and mix of the finest bands around and some of the best anthems in the genre to date, but there can be no doubt, Belsonic belongs to Biffy Clyro this evening, Simon Neil and co more than exceed the hype. Mon the Biff indeed!