Biffy Clyro and Manchester Orchestra (4 stars)

Biffy Clyro and Manchester Orchestra

Photo: Michael Gallacher

Barrowland, Glasgow, Mon 2 Nov 2009

In their four-year existence, Atlanta's MO have created the tenderest of ballads and also rocked it up to 11. Tonight, sandwiched between über-frantic Leeds shouters Pulled Apart by Horses (sample title 'I Punched a Lion in the Throat' - the throat!) and rock gods incumbent Biffy Clyro, they wisely stick to their peppier numbers.

The five-some are set on tackling the gamut of emotional vagaries in an increasingly voluminous rock context, with their recent second album, Nothing Means Everything, sweeping away the fragility and playfulness of their earlier output for a bigger, harder rock sound. In a gig situation, any vestiges of what can sound twee and overwrought on record become sandblasted by live bombast to the detriment of Hull's delicate vocals but the benefit of the tracks' power.

Mirroring the changing dynamics of their sound, the disparate bunch read as a spectrum of energy on stage: from frenetic keyboard/percussionist Chris Freeman to the studied cool of guitarist Robert McDowell. Their dissimilarities make for an interesting watch and a 20-minute set is disappointingly brief, offering a snapshot of their current style rather than doing justice to their range.

However, in the context of the headliners, all resentments are swept away, as is every other coherent thought, in a barrage of face-melting mastery. As Biffy's tendencies have developed over the years from raw beginnings to this year's Only Revolutions, so has their appeal. Polished and quoiffed the triumphant trio bask in complete control of their music and their audience, wielding their ferocious power to forge a cohesive aural and visual experience worthy of their two-night sellout gig.

Biffy Clyro

The award-winning, chart-topping Kilmarnock rockers return with their unique brand of hard alternative rock and post-hardcore. As their fans say, 'Mon the Biff!'

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