What happened when Biffy Clyro headlined Download 2022

Hi. Biffy f*cking Clyro are still one of the best bands in the land. Duh…

What happened when Biffy Clyro headlined Download 2022
Nick Ruskell
Derek Bremner

Has it been five years already? So, this is Biffy Clyro's second turn headlining Download, and what an occasion it is. Even the unusual spectacle of Simon Neil WEARING A SHIRT for the first few songs, the Ayrshire gang are on their usual incredible form tonight. If previously there was a question mark that they were A Download Headliner (which they effortlessly rubbished), tonight with their feet under the table, they are simple astonishing.

Simon goes for a proper "Scream for me Donington" and gets one. Really, though, nods to Maiden are secondary to the fact that the likes of Cop Syrup, That Golden Rule and Mountains deserve to be sown into this place's hallowed turf anyway. These are songs that, opened to the air sufficient to fly an aeroplane from neighbouring East Midlands Airport, still feel like they need room to manoeuvre. It is testament to Biffy's skill that the twists and turns, not to mention the Alan Partridge intro of Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies, that everything goes over like liquid music. It's genuinely astounding to behold.

Less intense moments, like a beautiful Machines, bring a weighty gravitas, as tens of thousands of people chime that, 'I've forgotten how good it could be to feel alive.' And it may be out of context from the song's original muse of the singer's mother, but after two years of devastating sadness, Simon's words have a vital poignancy. In full sing-along voice, it becomes a reminder that life is there to be, in his words, savoured.

Once again, Biffy Clyro have triumphed in a massive setting. Like that should come as a surprise. But in the wake of KISS and Iron Maiden, it's reassuring that Download has younger bands of this brilliant, world-class caliber to match their weight. Incredible.

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