Concert Review// Austin’s Fuel Room/Libertyville, IL/9.11.2017/Biffy Clyro

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All photo credit : Linette Britt, Rockpicschick Photography and Music.

Biffy Clyro

This is a tale of three Scotsmen, whose rise to success has been nothing short of what dreams are made of. Since the early age of 14, Simon Neil, James Johnston, and his brother, Ben have been making a racket, always with the hope of making music that people would enjoy, all the while with no grand illusions of rock stardom and worldwide acclaim. Yet, they have managed to do just that.


Holding tight to each other through thick and thin, the good times and bad, for the sheer love of making music, these gents have been not only able to eek out a good living doing what they love, they have crashed through the ceiling far beyond what their younger selves ever envisioned.

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One can easily follow the evolution of Biffy Clyro as a band through listening to the music catalog they have created. The tracks bear witness to the roads traveled and the men they have become. Time has not just solidified their brotherly bond, but it has also amassed a huge fan following they have enamored each step along the way. Their music’s vulnerable lyrics, dynamic “pomp, and circumstance” delivery works to break down the barriers of country and kingdom, uniting us reflecting on life, the human plight, and all it celebrates and despises. Biffy has become known for their amazing ability to create anthemic walls of sound and deliver a one-two punch — moving lyrics, and powerful riff-age. Their high stage energy is on a level that would stand up against many early legendary rockers.

Coming off some challenges with their bus, and missing the very first headlining show of their recent tour (Boston), the band enjoyed a pedaled back small in-studio performance at WIIL Rock in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. A few select winners enjoyed a live, in-studio acoustic show that can be viewed online at the station’s website. The band talked about working on many new songs and being excited about a writing a new album, hopefully in the next year. Their latest album, “Ellipsis,” is the seventh studio album which was released in July 2016. Featured tracks have been ‘Re-Arranged,’ ‘Medicine,’ ‘Animal Style,’ and ‘Wolves of Winter.’

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Biffy’s return to Austin’s was met with much excitement, with many people I spoke had come tonight upon hearing the band play at Austin’s previously. I also encountered several ‘lifer’ fans who have been into their music for a long time, travelling long distances to get an opportunity to see the band here in the US on this tour.


The audience was an eclectic mix, speaking much to the way the band’s music is able to connect with people of all ages and walks of life. Their performance was lively, fun, and intense. Biffy didn’t hold back at all in making this venue a hot sweaty mess of believers. The band appeared to be having a great night as well, shifting from coveted classic tracks to songs from their latest album, chatting with the audience, and being playful on stage.

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The sound was well balanced, which really showed in their softer acoustic songs like ‘Medicine” and ‘Folding Stars”. Simon’s guitar sounded amazing against his delicate, heartfelt vocals. The complex walls of sound these guys can create are unbelievable. Overall — killer show!

Can’t wait to see them again and look forward to the next chapter to their story.



Wolves of Winter
Living is a Problem Because Everyone Dies
Victory Over The Sun
Who’s Got A Match
All the Way Down: Prologue Chapter 1
Black Chandelier
That Golden Rule
Animal Style
Many of Horror
Folding Stars
Stingin’ Belle

Concert Review//Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes/ Cobra Lounge/ Chicago, IL 5.15.17

British outfit Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes may have only been a band for a little over 2 years, but already have found their sweet spot —  a unique interplay of raucous punk and hard rock that dances on the fringes of mayhem. Frank Carter’s newest group can most clearly be described as the love child of his former band – the fiercely hardcore, Gallows, and his short- lived upbeat pop project, Pure Love. The two bands couldn’t be further apart stylistically if they tried, yet somehow, they seem to have influenced the sonic shape of the sound of the band, and their debut album, Modern Ruin (Jan 2017 – International Death Cult).IMG_7576

How fitting that they would be playing at a very small club in the heart of industrial Chicago, called the Cobra Lounge. To my surprise, I found many people who have been fans of the band since the early days of Frank Carter’s first punk band, Gallows.

Raging like a bull in a china shop, Frank Carter is truly the juggernaut he proposes to be, delivering songs in his live performance with fervent soul-bearing balls-to-the-wall physicality and conviction.  The audience returned every ounce of intensity —  rushing the stage, stage diving, and belting out songs word for word. The Rattlesnakes held up their end —  meeting the challenges of matching Frank’s intensity and swagger with commanding drum work and potent, fierce guitar riffs. They definitely aren’t a back up to Frank . They are his wings. The transparent yet powerful message of the band’s lyrics provided a confessional for Carter (and the listener), all the while still giving a glimpse of hope through the despair, as in songs like “Thunder”, laden with dark imagery of immigration and the stark realization of how we let our fears overcome us.


“They’re all mothers and fathers and children too/And you’re scared of them ’cause they don’t look like you.”

Notably, Carter’s infamous primal-scream puts an exclamation on the truths of inequality, injustice, and pain that bring a depth to the performance that one can see is authentic. It’s relatable because it is the world we are all living in.

Since debuting with Gallows in 2005, the years and experiences have found an older, wiser Frank Carter, who now has his own family (one of the songs on the album is for his 2 year old daughter). He cares about his audience and the fan community relationships, delivering a speech to this Chicago audience about caring for one another with respect and equality inside and outside their gigs.  


After meeting him Frank later in the evening, I could see his excitement for what the future holds with the way the USA embraced them on this tour. They have enjoyed much success in their native UK, with “Modern Ruin” peaking at number #7 in the UK album list. The band has announced a winter UK TOUR which starts December 1st in Bristol at O2 Academy. Dates are already selling out.

Having lived in New York for 5 years, Frank calls the USA his “home away from home” and is very much looking forward to returning to the USA to do another more extensive tour as soon as they can. From the reception they have received on this most recent North American Tour, it can’t come too soon for their fans’ liking.


Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes are the new hardcore punk that delivers from the head and the heart, relentless and fearless. Their music is liberating, feeding your soul as it tears it apart at the same time. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes :
Frank Carter – vocals
Dean Richardson – guitars
Tom ‘Tank’ Barclay – bass guitar
Gareth Grover – drums
Thomas Mitchener – guitars& synth
Check out the video for their song,  ‘ Lullaby’ here —




Concert Review// Biffy Clyro- House of Blues, Chicago IL / 5.5.17

Scotland’s rock Darlings, Biffy Clyro have made a much anticipated return to the US on their 2017 North American Tour supporting the release of their 7th studio album, Ellipsis. The trio consisting of lead singer/guitarist, Simon Neil, James Johnston (bass/vocals), and his brother Ben(drums/vocals)- have had much success in the UK and overseas, garnishing four studio albums that have reached the top five in the UK album chart, and their sixth studio album, Opposites, reaching number one in the charts. It doesn’t stop there.

In 2013 they received the NME award for Best British Band, and went on to headline the main stage at the Leed & Reading Festival. The band have sold in excess of 1,200,000 albums and 400,000 singles in the UK alone.

Playing some of the largest show’s across the continent, Biffy Clyro continues to be passionate about growing their presence in the US, while staying humble about their success and excited about their future.

Simon was just 15 when he paired up with Ben, and later, with Ben’s twin brother, James.. Ever since then these three have been inseparable, a merry brotherhood.

Biffy Clyro are are well-known for their commanding, guitar-heavy booming anthems and more recently, with Ellipsis, the creation of some more eloquent, poetic tracks, authentic and sincere — a little glimpse behind the curtain of a band that has been together for over 20 years. It is a life committed to music, love of life, family, friends and their unique brotherhood that has stood the test of time.

A nearly sold-out crowd filled the iconic Chicago House of Blues. The front row found several die-hard fans lining the barrier to celebrate Biffy’s triumphant return to the US. The opener’s were heady and brilliant – Atlanta based alt- rockers (think part Radiohead, part Sigur Ross) filled the room with their waves of colossal atmospheric rock walls, invoking a sonically provocative hard edged sound with emotive vocals. It bends and distorts and takes you on a journey. Not to mention the vocal range of their lead singer, Tanner Merritt. Enough to make any male singer jealous (and even some females)! OBrother’s new album, Endless Light, is out now. Snap a copy up, you won’t be disappointed..

Standing still as statues to start their performance, with an enchanting hymn playing in the background, Biffy took off like a charge to hit hard with one of their newest single’s, “Wolves of Winter “, and we were off!

Both fragile and ferocious were a part of their 21 song set list tonight. To Biffy’s delight, the audience came ready to match their energy and raised the roof, singing along and fist pumping to the band’s tried and true hits, as well as their newest tracks. USA, and specifically, Chicago, gave them a warm welcome back and it only added to their frenzy. You wouldn’t know they weren’t playing to a huge stadium of die hard fans. The love was mutual.

Then the band went into a complete onslaught, full of conviction with rapid fire of “Different People,” “Sounds Like Balloons,”  and “Mountains.” The set showed that Biffy is not letting off the gas pedal or resting on their laurels. Intermingled were some more vulnerable songs –

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two were specifically  entrancing, showcasing Simon’s charm and charisma, “Re-Arrange” and “Medicine.”

If this show is any forecast of the commitment Biffy has to their US fans, it has been solidified.  Simon said in a recent interview, “America is the last terrain in the world for us to break through, and that puts a fire in our bellies.” Game on!

Biffy Clyro’s 2017 North American Tour end in May when they play at Rock on the Range Festival in Columbus Ohio on May 21st, 2017.

Remaining tour dates and tickets can be found at  .