In this barren era for live gigs there have been a number of attempts by bands big and small to replicate that live experience, and this has been the only one which has really built up to a sense of occasion, for BM at least. Some others have been intimate but there has been a real absence of loud noise.
The entry price of £15 might have seemed steep in this era of free online music but let us not forget how much people are prepared to pay for actually being there, and as far as that was concerned, Mogwai really pulled out the stops to make it as authentic as possible.
In some ways this was not a surprise as (without going about it too much) this band have singularly pushed forward what music can be, and of course they will keep doing it!
With a new album out shortly and the live dates (including of course Glasgow Hydro) cancelled due to you-know-what, the band rehearsed extensively at the massive space which is Glasgow Tramway (one of the few venues in Glasgow they have never played, BM reckons) and gave us a full run-through of the new album, plus a couple of bonus oldies.
The event was not live on the day, but the stream was scheduled to start at 8pm on the night (note to bands, include a support act as well, that would build things up even better!) and began with a couple of minutes of footage of the band in the studio recording (them in England, the producer in USA) and some commentary by Stuart Braithwaite.
The ten new tracks were quite something, including several previously released singles, and is probably among their best work in ten years. In particular ‘Ritchie Sacramento’ is a killer vocal track from Stuart, following on from the 2014 single “Teenage Exorcists” in its Joy Division/early New Order meets Whipping Boy (an Irish band, have they ever mentioned them in interviews?) and there are a couple of new noise classics. So good also to see Martin back on the drum stool doing what he does best, and newish lad Alex provided some excellent riffage and augmentation to Barry’s keyboards.
The filming, through fish-eye, and the lighting, accentuating the venue’s brickwork at times and at other times giving the full blinding treatment that a live gig would, were both excellent, and the combination of intimacy and pure noise rage came through in the peerless soundmix.
This was some achievement and well worth the cash – BM salutes Mogwai and their efforts to do their thing no matter what.