Review: Concert in the Gardens

Biffy Clyro frontman Simon Neil. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Biffy Clyro frontman Simon Neil. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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AN epic fireworks display, a direct message to the people of Edinburgh from an astronaut in outer space at the Bells, and compere Grant Stott dressed in a Bay City Rollers-inspired tartan jacket. Who needs live music when you’ve got this much entertainment on show, eh?

Thankfully, the rock-heavy line-up at the Concert In The Gardens were in inspiring mood, too, as the pop music of previous years’ Hogmanay concerts gave way to distorted guitars and tub-thumping drums.

First up, dynamic Edinburgh duo, Honeyblood.

Having supported Foo Fighters at Murrayfield Stadium recently, guitarist-vocalist, Stina Tweeddale, and drummer Cat Myers, burst out of the blocks with a bombastic level of confidence and enthusiasm. So much so, the young audience wasted no time in finding their dancing shoes.

Myers - sporting a mouse-design onesie - hits her drums with more power than a mother’s love, and with all the precision of a Swiss watch-maker. Tweeddale, meanwhile, is the perfect example of a talented modern-day Rock-chick: eye-catching, charismatic, and with enough presence to fill the large stages Honeyblood currently occupy. Mainstream acceptance can’t be far off.

Edinburgh band, Idlewild, however, have been there, done that, and used the T-shirts as cleaning dusters. Twenty-years running, the once hedonistic indie-rock outfit have settled into a more folk-inspired groove in recent times. This was evident in the laid-back nature of their performance, the addition of violin adding a nice lushness to proceedings. You could sense, however, that the crowd - the majority of them Biffy Clyro fans were biding their time until the main event.

Indeed, when the naked torsos of the Kilmarnock headliners presented themselves, you could feel Castle Rock tremble under the reception. Walking on to the sounds of Motorhead’s Ace Of Spades (a tribute to the late Lemmy), every one of Biffy’s 18 anthemic crowd-pleasers (including a brand new song) became an instant memento for their phone-waving audience. Held together by the spine of brotherly rhythm section Ben and James Johnston, all eyes, however, were fixated on frontman Simon Neil: a blur of hair, tattoos, and a black flapping kilt.

Not even the climatic fireworks bringing in 2016 could upstage the trio.