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Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil announces shows with new band Empire State Bastard

His new 'grindcore extreme metal' outfit play UK clubs this month

By Joe Goggins

Simon Neil onstage with Biffy Clyro in 2017
Neil has drafted in the legendary Dave Lombardo on drums. (Photo: Stefan Brending/Wikimedia Commons)

Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil has confirmed details of his new side project, Empire State Bastard.

The new band was founded by Neil and Biffy live guitarist Mike Vennart. Live, they’ll be backed by former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo and Bitch Falcon bassist Naomi Macleod. Their first shows are in the diary for later this month, with intimate gigs planned for Glasgow, Manchester and London.

The band will then head for the festival circuit, with appearances confirmed at Download, HellFest, 2000Trees and ArcTanGent. You can see their tour dates in full below. Tickets for the headline shows go on sale at 10am on Friday (March 3), here for the Glasgow show and here for the dates in Manchester and London.

No new music has yet been released, save for a teaser trailer that suggests Neil is headed for a return to the heavier soundscapes that characterised early Biffy records. Empire State Bastard was conceived on the back of the Biffy tour bus, as Neil and Vennart would swap “the heaviest, most avant-garde or the most sickeningly confrontational music they could find,” per a press release. Having already dreamed up the name for the band, Neil then tasked Vennart with writing music that lived up to it.

Now, a decade on from its conception, the project is finally coming to fruition. Neil will front the outfit and writes the lyrics, while Vennart pens the music and handles guitars. They have name-checked the likes of Melvins, Siege, Slayer, Sleep and Mike Patton as key influences. The press release calls Empire State Bastard “a band that’s rooted in the tradition of metal’s forefathers, but informed by more recent waves of leftfield aggression.” 

Neil himself had previously described the band as “grindcore extreme metal”, in a conversation with NME back in August 2020. “It’s the one thing getting me through not touring,” he said, referring to the COVID-19 lockdowns, “just knowing I can spend the year making new music.” An album is expected soon.

Empire State Bastard, March 2023:

26 – Glasgow, Cathouse

27 – Manchester, Rebellion

28 – London, Underworld

June 2023:

9 – Donington, Download Festival

18 – Clisson, FR, HellFest

July 2023:

7 – Withington, 2000Trees

August 2023:

17 – Somerset, ArcTanGent