This second of two hometown end of year shows for Mogwai was sold out.
First up was Rev Magnetic, sometime Mogwai collaborator Luke Sutherland’s uniquely individual project. They arrived onstage around 8pm, raring to go and clearly relishing the occasion of a sold out gig in the large room, replete with large sound.
Over around half an hour and a brace of songs, mainly from the most recent album Venus Universe, they beguiled us with tuneage ranging from dreampop to brutal riffage and quite a bit in between. Luke started on the fiddle then moved to guitar, taking vocals for the first couple of tracks, although bass/keyboardist Audrey Bizouerne also sang a couple of leads – their combination of voices also worked well together.
Luke had a bit of a banter with the crowd, referencing his relief after playing the track he was in the middle of when they last played this venue (supporting the Mary Chain) and the Achilles tendon in his foot snapped – cue a load of pain and a European tour on crutches…. Luckily fate did not strike twice this time and the set was something of a validation for this highly underrated band (see BM’s recent interview with Luke).
Mogwai tonight were simply immersinve, as ever letting the music do the talking, with little speech beyond some thankyous from Stuart (although he did thank the crew after the main set). On a relatively sparse stageset (though the massive Orange amps were noticeable!) but with a pretty devastating lightshow, they played a sprawling set comprised of tracks from pretty much every stage of their now lengthy career as arguably Scotland’s (and beyond!) most original, loudest and also most stubbornly uncompromising cult band. The four core members, supplemented by young Alex on second guitar and with a guest appearance by Luke Sutherland for the fiddle on ‘Christmas Steps”‘, knuckled down and got on with what they do best.
Starting with somewhat unexpected new single release ‘Boltfor’, we got a somewhat different set to what people got the previous night – the most recent album tracks were not featured or plugged any more than anything else, while there were outings for relative Mogwai obscurities such as ‘Ratts of the Capital’. The noise level was, well, noisy, and the band pushed the set right up to the curfew, the second set comprising ‘Ritchie Sacramento’, the only track tonight with anything like a vocal and for BM’s money still one of the best pop songs of the era, and a truly punishing, lacerating, guitar-string shredding take on early classic ‘My Father My King’ which lasted pretty much the 22 or so minutes of the recorded version and ended in a blizzard of squalling feedback and fx.
A swift “thanks”, a few waves, and then they were gone, ending what has been a pretty darn good year of live appearances. Long may the love between Mogwai and their following continue, it certainly seemed to be mutual between band and audience in the room tonight.