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Biffy Clyro, Symphony Hall, Birmingham - review with pictures

By Rebecca Stanley | Music | Published:

Following the release of their first acoustic album MTV Unplugged: Live At Roundhouse London, Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro brought their stripped back set to Birmingham's Symphony Hall last night.

Biffy Clyro. Pictures by: Chris Bowley

It was an exciting evening from the moment eager fans stepped through the venue doors, some stopping in awe as they marvelled at the stage covered in woodland plants, glistening fairy lights, and a large tree in the centre of it all.

First up to entertain the steadily filling room was Australian solo artist Juanita Stein with a series of toe-tapping country-infused indie tracks to get the crowd moving.

Her rich vocals blended effortlessly with the melodic acoustic chords to create a relaxed mood throughout the room. The 41-year-old musician treated fans to a variety of singles from her brand new album Until The Lights Fade, through to hits from her debut album America - all delivered with the same impressive range and heartfelt passion that made her so captivating to watch.

Juanita Stein. Pictures by: Chris Bowley

Ending on album-titled track America and the hip-shaking Get Back To The City, Juanita left the stage to well-deserved rounds of applause from the entire room following a glittering performance.

Taking to the stage in a dazzling white ensemble, Simon Neil, accompanied by fellow bandmates James and Ben Johnston, was immediately greeted by adoring cheers audience.

"This is by far one of the most beautiful venues we've ever played," Simon told the eager crowd.

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Biffy Clyro. Pictures by: Chris Bowley

And the performance certainly matched the scenery, as they played hit after hit stripped of their usual electric guise, and given new life through acoustic instrumentals.

Beginning the night with hit songs The Captain, Saturday Superhouse and Re-Arrange; Simon dazzled the audience with his powerful vocals that never faltered throughout the group's hour and a half set.

James Johnston's expert guitar playing turned the rocking hits into haunting odes. Renditions of Black Chandelier and Folding Stars were simply hair-raising - the room was so still and the audience so captivated that a pin could have dropped.

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Biffy Clyro. Pictures by: Chris Bowley

The trio treated fans to a range of songs from their extensive back catalogue, from early hits such as Justboy and As Dust Dances, through to brand new song Adored. One thing that united all of these contrasting hits however, was the expert way in which they were delivered, packed full of passion in each and every note.

Smash hit song Bubbles illustrated the band's dedication to their craft, with soaring guitar solos and punchy vocals that were still as impactful in an acoustic format.

Despite being a seated show, the song still had the audience moving in their seats, with two crowd members even blowing real bubbles at the front of the room.

Biffy Clyro. Pictures by: Chris Bowley

To chants of 'mon the Biff', Simon came back to the stage to kick-off the group's encore under one single stage light.

He delivered a haunting rendition of Friends and Enemies, before being joined by his fellow bandmates and backing group for 2009 hit God and Satan.

Urging the audience to get on their feet, Biffy closed the night with heartfelt ode Many of Horror, a spectacle that gives me goosebumps even thinking about it.

A truly special night from start to finish - Biffy Clyro recreated the same electric atmosphere of their stadium productions into one intimate acoustic evening that I, for one, feel privileged to have witnessed.

Rebecca Stanley

By Rebecca Stanley
@becci_star

Entertainment journalist for Express & Star and Shropshire Star. Contact me: rebecca.stanley@expressandstar.co.uk

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