Scottish post-rock pioneers Mogwai have been one of the genre’s most key exports for over 20 years now. Across records such as ‘Mogwai Young Team’, ‘Mr Beast’ and ‘Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will’, they’ve repeatedly managed to take their listeners on various journeys, from the warm and tender to the tense and heavy. Most of the time, they do so without vocals, but with their playing being so rich in emotion, vocals aren’t essential for Mogwai to inspire rich moods and atmospheres of any sort.
They hit Leeds Brudenell Social club tonight to celebrate two things: 1) The release of their new album ‘Every Country’s Sun’, and 2) the start of the brand new Community Room here at Brudenell in which they demonstrate their mastery.
Firstly though, we have The Declining Winter who deliver a lovely opening set of indie-rock creating a pleasant atmospheres not too far away from tonight’s main event with Autumn crisp chords and Winter fireplace vocals. They take the interruption of a fire alarm in their stride, joking that they probably won’t try that last song again.
Every second of Mogwai’s set is magical. It opens with ‘Rano Pano’ that marries firm, impenetrable fuzz with tender, euphoric harmonies, making for a zen atmosphere. Mogwai instantly have you in a state of bliss, but not ignorance as you feel prepared for anything with such muscle powering you up.
Mogwai pour everything into every part of their music. Whether it be the length of their build-ups or packing a punch in heavier moments; they also know when less means more.
New song ‘Party In The Dark’ is a bit of a hippy number. It’s so joyfully spiralling thanks to the driving bass and Stuart Braithwaite’s dreamy vocals. The unhinged ‘Remurdered’ makes for a chilling turn in the set with it’s cold, jumpy synths, while ‘Mogwai Fear Satan’ is a 16-minute journey to inner peace with wistful noodles and drones.
They are a fun band to watch too. There’s something endearing about how members swap instruments between songs, and all of them have very different stage personalities. With Mogwai’s set tonight, just like with most of their records, not a second was wasted. Every moment was either a well-executed climax, or a journey there just as fulfilling as the payoff itself.