Live Review: Biffy Clyro with the Static Jacks and O’Brother at DC9, Washington, DC – Wednesday 15th September 2010

By on Friday, 17th September 2010 at 12:00 pm

I’m not a Biffy Clyro aficionado. I could never claim to be, I only know the singles from ‘Only Revolutions’ that were on heavy rotation on 6music. But even I was convinced enough to attend their Wednesday night gig because of the gravity of the situation: it was the first-ever headlining gig the Scottish trio had ever on American soil. Fans from all over had travelled to our little town to see them play in the 200-capacity club where I’d seen the xx and VV Brown make their local debuts. After getting stuck in a massive traffic jam on the Beltway, the main motorway surrounding the city, I then got lost trying to make my way to the club. An hour and 45 minutes later at 8 PM I finally made it to 9th Street, relieved. Then we all waited another hour and a half before we were let up to the main stage area (a full hour later than the originally posted time).

The Static Jacks from New Jersey were the first opening act. I’d seen them before, with a splendid opening set for the Futureheads in June. Just a lot of energy from four really young guys who are friends plus a new bass player, so new that he just learned his bass lines last week. Not kidding. One of their songs, ‘Who Are the Replacements?’, appeared on an episode of MTV’s teenage seaside drama ‘Jersey Shore’ (below, you can have a listen to the song). If this is what the kids of America are listening to on occasion, then we as a nation aren’t doing too bad. Lead singer Ian Devaney is a powerhouse both physically (jumping around on stage and dangerously whipping his mike stand around) and vocally, and with backing vocals provided by guitarist Henry Kaye, it’s not punk rock with no direction. This is a band I strongly believe is going somewhere. I just want to know, why aren’t these guys signed yet?


O’Brother from Atlanta was next. I’ve been to some loud gigs but this for sure was one of the loudest sets I’ve ever heard. When you see three blokes with guitars in front of you, not counting the bass player, you know it’s going to be loud. The best way I can describe them is proggy hard rock – a kind of Led Zeppelin meets the Mars Volta meets Mogwai. I do like hard rock but I need hard rock with a melody, and this seemed like hard rock for the sake of being hard rock, with excessively long squeals of guitar, a cacophonous maelstrom of sound and long hair flying. However, the Biffy-loving crowd loved them, so that’s all that was important. In these years after Metallica lost their lustre in fighting illegal file sharers, I suppose a band that is steadfast in their commitment to make the music they want and not give a monkey’s is pretty admirable.

Finally, when 11:45 rolled around, it was time for Biffy Clyro. Oddly, I was stuck between two girls, neither of whom wanted to switch places so they could stand together, so for most of the night I had to fend off loud Italian and outstretched arms between them. DC9 is so small that it’s not difficult, unfortunately, to encroach on someone’s else’s space. I was reminded of the xx gig last November when another girl tried to shove me out of my place when I refused to play nice. Besides that minor quibble, DC9 is a great place to see shows. During the actual Biffy gig, the headbanging was bordering on comical. There were two blokes next to me who looked like fish out of water, the way their bodies were thrashing about. (After the gig was over, they complimented each other on their moves and hugged each other. Bless.)

Even though the band began with ‘That Golden Rule’, it wasn’t until several songs in for ‘Bubbles’ that the crowd really go into it, everyone’s arms in the air. I preferred ‘the softer side’ of Biffy Clyro – songs like ‘God and Satan’ – that caught my attention, because otherwise I felt most of the songs blurred together in their atmospheric intensity. Make no mistake: a Biffy show is high octane, like an explosion of your aural senses happening before you. But it’s really loud and really frenetic and not for everyone.

The Static Jacks Photos:

O’Brother Photos:

Biffy Clyro Set List:
That Golden Rule
Living is a Problem
Glitter and Trauma
Who’s Got a Match?
God and Satan
Some Kind of Wizard
Born on a Horse
Shock Shock
Bodies in Flight
Many of Horror
The Captain

Biffy Clyro Photos:

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2 Responses

[…] only to further cement their standing with me with wonderful supporting slots for Biffy Clyro in that same year and the Wombats in […]

[…] in June 2010, nor was I when they opened Biffy Clyro‘s first headline show in the DC area, at DC9 in September 2010. At the time, they were probably best described as loud, abrasive, and fun. These three adjectives […]

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