In promotion of a “revolutionary” ticketing technology which didn’t work for anyone Samsung decided to host a series of intimate concerts. However, despite the company’s fervent attempts to get people to go shitting mental about Near Field Communication, smartphone gadgetry was most definitely not the main attraction, the people were here to see Biffy Clyro (or as Simon Neil eloquently puts it “Biffy fuckin’ Clyro”.)
Support act Mallory Knox did not manage to muster much enthusiasm from the crowd. It genuinely borders on the perplexing how someone could find Mallory Knox exciting, using the same logic of how I would observe it confusing to find someone who is really in to shelf brackets. Their music is so devoid of originality that the only thing that’s interesting about it is how their blandness fringes on the remarkable; their songs serving as a catalogue of UK scene kid clichés, every bar revealing another trope of coma-inducing Kerrang!-core which you thought would have died out with Fightstar and the Tudors. The lead singer’s incessant begging for audience participation and the guitarists’ textbook pop-punk dancing did seem to capture the imagination of a few who were holding on to 2004 like it was their child hanging over a ravine (or were on the guestlist), nevertheless for the preponderance of the punters it was just same ol’, same ol’. The only way that their music could be considered to be impressive is if it turned out that none of the members had hands, and even then they’d still sound like Funeral for a Friend.
However, the atmosphere remained resiliently ecstatic and as Simon Neil approached the stage the reward was near-immediate. From the initiation of the proceedings with Opposites-opener ‘Different People‘ it was obvious from the crowd’s hanging on and repetition of Neil’s every word that this was going to be a celebration of one of the UK’s most successful rock bands. As soon as the song kicked in to action so did the audience; people throwing themselves around with joy at seeing one of their favourite bands in a venue the size they haven’t dared to play for years. Nonetheless it wasn’t until Biffy launched in to the next track ‘That Golden Rule‘ where there was an explosion of absolute effervescent fury. Pits broke out like a particularly catching virus with members of the crowd slamming in to each other in a ferocious-yet-communal hysteria; firmly taking every moment and enjoying it.
What was especially fantastic about the crowd was the level of respect held to the band; during their preposterous rock anthems the audience participated in a passionate rage whilst in more sombre moments such as a solo-acoustic version of ‘Folding Stars’ everyone was gripped in a reserved appreciation of the ballad, the 1,500-capacity singing from the depth of their collective souls.
This was a dedicated old school, and the band knew it. As the chants of “Jaggy Snake, Jaggy Snake” which were present in between every song intensified to a deafening unison the group finally succumbed to their and the audience’s desires, launching in to an invigorated impromptu performance of Infinity Land avant-post-hardcore classic ‘There’s No Such Thing as a Jaggy Snake‘; received just the way you would think a song that was being chanted for the whole night would.
It was this precise moment which affirmed that the space between the band and the audience had become more spiritually intimate; this was no longer “Men in Suits present: Biffy Clyro”, this was just the audience, a sweaty auditorium and “Biffy fuckin’ Clyro”. Extrapolated this became a sense of “Us v. Them”; everyone knew that Samsung didn’t care about Biffy Clyro, Biffy Clyro probably knew that Samsung didn’t care about Biffy Clyro. Before they appeared in front of the auditorium this was just a paycheck, a promotional event; on a PR level they were not meant to be the star of the show, but as the doors opened and the fans made their way home, one sentence could not be heard:
“Those phones looked nice, didn’t they?”