LIVE: Biffy Clyro / Jimmy Eat World @ The Roundhouse, London

By Yasmin Brown

The Roundhouse is arguably one of London’s most iconic venues, being the venue at which innumerable live albums were recorded and having housed more impressive names in music than the front cover of Rolling Stone (probably). 

That’s why it’s perfect for tonight’s lineup of Biffy Clyro and Jimmy Eat World; two bands that, while quite different in sound, will always find themselves the well-deserved subjects of equal and unwavering praise from music industry professionals across the world.

For support act Jimmy Eat World, it’s three days until the release of their 10th studio album, ‘Surviving’, and we’re lucky enough to be treated to three new tracks from this album, one of which – the stunning and synthy ‘555’ – had before tonight been previously unheard by the general public. 

While Jimmy have unquestionably earnt themselves the title of being one of the best rock bands formed in the past 25 years, the crowd tonight is disappointing, giving little feedback to what is by anyone’s standards an exceptional live performance. It’s difficult not to feel a grin forming on your face as an unexpected saxophonist joins the band on stage for ‘All the Way (Stay)’, however, and old favourites ‘Sweetness’ and ‘The Middle’ will always be met with unadulterated excitement, even if in this setting at least, it’s only because there’s something recognisable being played on stage.

This response is not a reflection of the talent that exudes from the members of the band on stage. Jimmy Eat World are never anything but mind blowing, and tonight is no exception, but support slots are hard no matter how exceptional you may be, and Jimmy sadly have to face this fact tonight.

As it grows ever closer to the main event, the floor pads out and members of the audience find themselves with increasingly less personal space, allowing levels of excitement to rise by the minute, despite the uncomfortable environment.

The simple staging does nothing to predict the performance that lies ahead, with both band and crowd instantly throwing themselves into the set the moment Biffy Clyro take to the stage to the opening riffs of ‘Balance, Not Symmetry’. The lull that set in during Jimmy Eat World’s set was long forgotten, and it’s clear that while Jimmy are well-loved, tonight this is the Biffy Clyro show.

Pulling from their extensive discography, each song is met with almost equal enthusiasm, but there were – of course – clear fan favourites. Whether it’s ‘Mountains’ or ‘Bubbles’ from ‘Only Revolutions’, or ‘Black Chandelier’ taken from 2013’s ‘Opposites’, the crowd’s momentum never once wavers across and it’s clear that this band’s long career has brought them a loyal and immovable fanbase. 

Even softer moments, such as with ‘Fever Dream’ – a performance that feels very far removed from what you might expect from a Biffy show – and ‘Adored’ are met with undivided attention, every audience member is entirely entranced by the scene on stage. These moments are tender and allow for a short respite from the mayhem that both precedes and follows them, while also highlighting the versatile nature of this band. When you think of Biffy, it’s easy to think of the faster paced songs such as ‘Born on a Horse’ or ‘Booooom, Blast and Ruin’, but their more vulnerable moments are just as impactful – both on record and in a live environment such as tonight. 

The only disappointment comes if you take a moment to glance up at the balcony, where almost everyone remains seated – a rarity at such an otherwise uninhibited rock shows such as this. While those on the floor lose their minds, flinging their bodies around and barely allow themselves  a second to breathe, those on the balcony seem to miss out on exactly what it is that makes a Biffy Clyro show what it is. Fortunately, the stationary half of the crowd does nothing to deter the rest of us, and it certainly doesn’t slow the band down even a little bit. 

As expected, Biffy Clyro’s most mainstream song ‘Many of Horror’ was the last played by the band before a short encore, and despite its popularity, this doesn’t take away from the crowd’s enjoyment as the band highlights just why the song became so well-known in the first place. Mixed, unintelligible chants enticed the band back on stage to treat us to three final songs, closing with 2013’s ‘Stingin’ Belle’ and leaving us mostly satisfied – our only wish being that it never has to end.

The entire evening was an overwhelming melting pot of excitement, sweat, and mind boggling talent, and one that every member of this sold-out crowd will be talking about for years to come.