SAN FRANCISCO — There’s a point in every wildly successful act’s show when the fans, knowing their role, act out a role or clap, as if on cue, but without having to be prompted. U2 has this, the Stones have this, and Biffy Clyro has it, too.
In the U.K., hard rock trio Biffy Clyro headline stadiums. Despite years of making inroads in the U.S., singer-guitarist Simon Neil, bassist James Johnston and drummer Ben Johnston can be an unknown commodity. But not to those who filled out the Fillmore Tuesday to see the Scottish band burn through a 75-minute set, with only a few ballad breaks in between.
Taking the stage to chants of “Mon the Biff,” one of the aforementioned audience traditions fans of the band know without having to be asked, the trio kicked right into “Wolves of Winter,” one of seven tracks off 2016’s new album Ellipsis. Biffy Clyro’s set was a mixture of new tracks as well as fan favorites off 2013’s Opposites, 2009’s Only Revolutions and 2007’s Puzzle. “Black Chandelier,” “Stingin’ Belle” and “Sounds Like Balloons” connected especially well Tuesday. Biffy Clyro’s first three albums were not represented at the show.
The band also performed with a fourth member, a guitarist who stuck largely in the shadows of the stage and faced Ben Johnston rather than the audience. Presumably, the need for another musician arose due to fuller sound on Ellipsis, but he made himself known throughout the set, taking guitar parts that had previously gone to Neil.
Atlanta hard rock and grunge quintet O’Brother opened the show with a set of moody tracks that alternated tempo and direction from melodic to wall-of-sound in the blink of an eye.
— Roman Gokhman