History was made over the past week as millions of people took to the polls to decide whether the United Kingdom would remain in the European Union. With the votes counted and the results in it had been decided that we were to leave. Those who voted to remain were heartbroken, those voted to leave were silent and the U.K. government beginning to falling apart. I could go on but I am not here to talk about politics, I am here to talk about rock ’n’ roll and what better band to talk about than the return of Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro as they headline the annual Belsonic Festival, now at it’s new venue, the world famous Titanic Quarter.
Before the show began the green and white army (G.A.W.A.) had gathered in the square to show their support for the home football team as they took on Wales in the Euro 2016 tournament held in France. Even with Northern Ireland losing this didn’t dull the spirit of the passionate fans who were more than happy with how far the lads got in the competition, plus the fans moved on to the reason why they were there in the first place, the gig!
Vant, a four piece band from London, England (or Planet Earth as they announced, duh) kicked off the event with their pop-grunge like style. Even with lead vocalist Mattie Vant getting the small crowd pumped up by jumping off the gigantic stage and going right up to the barrier, this didn’t do anything to help their overall performance. With a mixture of poor vocals, cringe worthy stage banter and all round horrible music their set was dire from start to finish.
Next up were Lonely The Brave, another band from England. Having only been in Belfast no more than a year ago, it was a change from the Limelight 2 to where the grounds where the Titanic was built. As the crowd began to grow and after hearing good reports about the band I was very interesting in what all the fuss was about and I have to say they put on a fairly decent set. For me the band’s downfall was their shy lead vocalist David Jakes, who even though has a strong set of pipes, his stage presence of hiding in the background didn’t help. However, I would have preferred to see this type of band in a club rather than a festival stage.
As the “Mon The Biff” chants grew and the crowd beginning to grow in size it was time for the Scottish icons Biffy Clyro to thunder their way onto the stage, and thunder is what they brought. A performance so spectacular that it put folk legend, the Scottish giant Benandonner’s arrival into the Northern Ireland to shame. No strangers in Belfast the Biffy boys have performed in venues from the late Auntie Annies bar to the SSE Arena but heavily tattooed lead vocalist Simon Neil and company were glad to be back in support of their new album “Ellipsis.” From the opening scream of “Wolves Of Winter” to the final note of “Stingin Belle” the Biff had their faithful following going absolute bananas without taking a breath. I will say this though, if I had a penny for every time there was an instrument change, I would be one rich mother…ANYWHO! Highlights from their set were “Black Chandelier” and of course the hit single “Mountains” to which left Simon Neil sing barely any of the songs as he put his trust in the voices of the people of Belfast.
A fantastic night had by all, it was not only great to finally see Biffy Clyro it was worth getting to see the brand new venue for the Belsonic Festival. With much more space and a MUCH bigger stage, this reviewer will be intrigued as to who will be coming over in the years to come.
Set List: Wolves Of Winter / Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies / Biblical / Friends And Enemies / Born On A Horse / Victory Over The Sun / Semi-Mental / Bubbles / Black Chandelier / Rearrange / Machines / The Captain / Mountains / 9/15ths / Animal Style / Sounds Like Balloons / Different People / Encore: Many Of Horror (When We Collide) / Stingin’ Belle.
Photographs & Review by Marc Leach.
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