Based out of Ayrshire, Scotland, power-trio Biffy Clyro is one of the most hard-rocking live bands currently on tour. They are three of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. They routinely sell out arenas and soccer stadiums in the UK and Europe. They have played and headlined numerous festivals in the UK and Europe. They get bigger and better with every album. So the question is why aren’t they catching on in the US?
I’ve been fortunate enought to see them many times. The first time, they were opening for MUSE in Wembley Stadium. When I saw them the second time, they were playing North Star Bar in Philedelphia – a venue that maybe held 350 people. I was with a group of friends who came from all over the United States to see them headline their own show. We made bassist James Johnston cry in disbelief that our group came from all over the country just to see them play in a tiny Pennsylvania bar. Several days later, I saw them again at The Basement in Columbus, Ohio- an even smaller venue with a stage about the size of my back porch. The next time they came back to the US, they were opening for Cage the Elephant. Their next run through the US brought them back to Columbus to the A&R Music Bar – a venue even smaller than The Basement. I spent a week in the Pacific Northwest last month for their shows in Seattle and Portland – again, smallish venues. Back in December, I went to London to see them play O2 Arena. They won the Best British Band award at the 2016 NMEs. Time and time again, they hit it out of the ball park regardless of venue size So what gives? Why are they not cracking the US?
Currently touring the US in support of 2016’s hard-hitting “Ellipsis,” they are in fine form. In Seattle’s Neptune Theatre – which is close to the University of Washington – the crowd knew who they were, knew the words to every song, and moshed along with the music. Frontman Simon Neil appeared to be suffering from a head cold judging by the giant box of tissues on his amp, but you wouldn’t have known that he was feeling a little under the weather. Simon, James, and Ben hit the ground running with “Wolves of Winter” and didn’t stop. While they focused more on their newer albums, the songs don’t feel old or stale. Biffy commands the stage from the moment they start to the last note and they play just as hard for 1,000 people in a medium-sized venue as they do for a 16,000-person venue in London. Portland was a bit of a different story. The venue was smaller and the crowd didn’t seem to be as familiar with them as the Seattle crowd, but the set was tight and hard rocking.
Granted, bands achieve familiarity through radio play. In the UK, Biffy has access to nation-wide radio stations that allow them to reach the entire country. The same situation exists in most European countries as well. But the US has no national radio stations – we’re a country of thousands of radio stations – the best non-US bands can hope for in terms of national exposure is an invitation to play Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Kimmel, or other similare shows. Like most acts, Biffy Clyro spends a lot of time giving interviews in the cities they play. But let’s face it – when was the last time you listened to the radio?
Biffy Clyro will be returning to the US for a 9-show run starting on May 9th. I’ve heard rumors about a return to the US in September, but I have no further information on that. So I’m begging you – catch Biffy Clyro on one of their upcoming US dates. I guarantee that you’ll be hooked.
Tour information – https://www.biffyclyro.com/shows.htm
Seattle set – https://www.takeapolaroidpicture.com/biffy-clyro
Portland set – https://www.takeapolaroidpicture.com/biffy-clyro-portland
Live concert –