by Matt Thorpe
It’s finally happening for the boys from Kilmarnock. After seven years of playing the historic Reading and Leeds Festival, Biffy Clyro have finally cracked the code and topped the bill for this summer’s spectacle.
Few people can argue that they don’t deserve this kind of recognition. Simon Neil, and Ben and James Johnston have toured more times than they’ve had hot dinners, having released their debut album over eleven years ago.
But it seems like 2013 – nearly twenty years after the band began – is finally the year that Biffy hit the big time and become one of the biggest bands in the world.
Last October, the band announced their first ever UK and European stadium tour for March 2013, with the release of their sixth studio album ‘Opposites’ hitting shelves (or iTunes after the demise of HMV) in the New Year.
Many doubted Biffy’s presence in the music industry, after their previous record ‘Only Revolutions’ saw the band continue to play theatre venues. But like the old cliché ‘good things come to those who wait’, Biffy’s patience was rewarded with record breaking results.
Commercially successful in album sales, the boys were handed huge opportunities in the form of two monumental headline shows. A UK tour culminated in a headline performance at Wembley Arena, the biggest gig the band could wish for at the time.
The following year saw the Scots grace the fields of Knebworth House; land that has staged such iconic bands like Led Zeppelin, Queen, the Who and Metallica, for a gig that would see the band thrive like never before and assert themselves as a genuine headline act.
From Knebworth they went to Los Angeles, as the band started recording in the City of Angels for their sixth album and, more notably, their toughest one yet.
Huge responsibilities lay in the palms of the rockers as they were handed the task of making a record that could not only surpass the success of ‘Only Revolutions’, but continue to push momentum forward onto bigger and greater things.
Speaking to the Independent, frontman Simon Neil described the difficulties the band faced whilst recording, and how it nearly tore them apart.
“When we started on ‘Opposites’ we’d kind of drifted apart as mates,” he said, “which was very strange for us.
“Before that, we’d always been able to rely on each other no matter what life was throwing at us. Ben (Johnston, drummer) had to stop drinking, both for himself, and for the band to survive.”
But having swept the problems beneath the rug, they pressed on and by the festive season of 2012, Biffy’s greatest challenge was over.
A band that divides opinions from both fans and critics, a barrage of doubt and reservation towards them was evident on forums as the highly anticipated release date drew nearer and nearer.
The media hyped it. The doubters doubted it. But like Biffy have proved for so many years, is that patience is a virtue.
This release was historic for the Scot rockers, as it went straight to number one in the UK charts. An incredible feat for the lads considering the commercial success of its predecessors ‘Puzzles’ and ‘Only Revolutions’.
A year with such significance resulted in Biffy’s biggest adventure yet, leading us to the festival they’ve been knocking at the door of for so many years.
Branham Park and Richmond Avenue are familiar grounds for the Clyro, having made their debut on the Carling Stage in 2002.
Set after set and year after year, Biffy silently climbed higher up the bill and by 2010, they hit the main stage behind the might of Queens of the Stone Age and Guns ‘n’ Roses (minus the hour long delay and shoddy performance by Axl and co.).
An incredible performance to set the stage for two of the finest rock bands of this era, Biffy thrived off the moment and delivered a set worthy of a headline slot.
And now, three years on, their dreams have come true. It will be long, it will be sweaty and it will rock the festival to its very core. Mon’ the Biff!
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