FOR Biffy Clyro and their fans, Friday, June 25, 2021, simply cannot come round quickly enough.

That is the date of the Ayrshire trio's 'special homecoming show' at Glasgow's Bellahouston Park. The gig is certain to be a sell-out, and the intriguing bill also includes Yungblud, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, and Mercury Music Prize nominee Porridge Radio.

The open-air show comes as the new album, A Celebration of Endings, has just topped the UK charts, as well as attracting some of the best reviews of their long career.

On one level, then, things are going exceptionally well for Simon Neil, James Johnston and Ben Johnston; on another, however, there is still much for them to be angry about - about, for example, the "buffoons" in charge, about the treatment of nurses, about bands that play it safe.

A Celebration Of Endings distils this anger into something bright and bombastic.

"We are living in a world right now in which politics cannot be ignored," drummer Ben Johnston said in an interview with Alex Green, the Press Association's entertainment reporter. "We are not historically a political band and we are not about to become Rage Against The Machine."

He pauses for a rumbling laugh. "But I just think, right now, living in this world, you cannot ignore the buffoons in charge and all the crazy stuff that is going on.

"If you don't sing about it you are only lying to yourself because it is omnipresent."

Ben was speaking just a week after he had reunited with his bandmates for their first rehearsal since lockdown.

For the hard-touring outfit, the music industry's sudden grind to a halt was especially unsettling. "The first few weeks were all over the place - a lot of fear," the 40-year-old admits.

"My regime went entirely out the window and I started putting on a bit of weight and sleeping crazy hours and all sorts of stuff.

"But once the novelty of that wore off I got some more routine back in my life and things are fine now."

Johnston, who had no formal music training, has spent lockdown going back to basics, practising on a drum pad and improving his technique.

Lockdown has also affected the band in other, more unexpected, ways.

Hailing from Kilmarnock, Biffy Clyro are famous for their eccentric style of power rock, performing topless at every opportunity, and for their love of Kilmarnock FC.

Football was one of the immediate casualties of the pandemic, but, now it has returned, Johnston appears to have fallen out of love with the game.

"I'm definitely missing the Killie," he says. "I really have missed the football, although weirdly since the English football came back - Scottish football hasn't come back yet - I realise I have slightly fallen out of love with football.

"I don't really know what happened. I'm watching it, going 'This isn't as good as I remember' and it's really upsetting because I love my football.

"I think there are too many live games on a daily rate. I think that's just putting me off - 'Oh God, live football again'.

"But no, I miss seeing my local team for sure. I miss going to my ground and shouting at guys in shorts."

As you would expect, Johnston agrees that the arts need Government support and worries about how the £1.57 billion rescue package for the sector will be divvied out.

But he's equally concerned for the nurses, junior doctors and healthcare workers who have spent the last half-year on the front line of the pandemic.

"I'm not one to get on my soapbox and start to worry about Government stuff," he admits. "There are more important things like nurses - they need to be taken care of. They need all the support in the world.

"They need to be paid twice as much, regardless of this pandemic.

"They need to be given free housing, they need to be given all the help, not turning up to food banks trying to feed their kids because they can't get a good enough wage as a nurse.

"That pisses me off. They are not given nearly enough support and this pandemic has shown that the people who are paid the least on the social structure are the people we need the most.

"We need to take a long, hard look at ourselves, think about that wealth gap and fix it."

Despite their studio wizardry and penchant for aural experimentation, Biffy Clyro are at their heart a live band.

If you have seen their energetic stage act you will understand that this period away must have been painful.

"It's been heartbreaking," says Johnston after a long sigh. "I completely forget what it is I do for a job. That happened so quickly, you wouldn't believe it.

"Even a couple of months, I'm like 'Am I in Biffy Clyro? Did we play these shows?' It's hard to even remember. I miss live music so much.

"The feeling you get from playing live cannot be replicated in any other manner. I miss it intensely.

"I was so happy to get back in the practice room just this week with the boys. It's the first time we have played since lockdown. It's such a release. I've missed it heavily."

He laughs at the suggestion that A Celebration Of Endings is Biffy Clyro's most danceable album yet - but agrees.

"We have really broad tastes, We like almost every genre of music. We like making ourselves a bit unsure.

"You should always slightly question your music. It should always be on the edge of 'Is this brilliant or terrible? I'm not sure' but certainly not safe.

"The last thing we want to do is make safe music and call it in. I hate bands that do that.

"We always want to be on the precipice, looking over the edge."

* A Celebration Of Endings is out now.