Venue: The Tivoli, Brisbane Australia
Date: March 4th 2015
Awesome, ear pummelling fantastic, no other description necessary. Mogwai are as good live as you would hope, and after 20 years together, it’s fantastic to see a band not only evolving their sound but thoroughly enjoying what they do.
Theirs is no internal angst driven machine. Rather, they appear to draw on each other’s abilities to extend themselves further on stage and you get the feeling that this complimentary comradery extends to the studio also. Stuart Braithwaite, Mogwai guitarist and sometime vocalist alludes to not enjoying the travelling but loving the chance to play live to people who love their music.
At many times during the gig, Mogwai would unabashedly smile at each other, share an inside laugh and generally just loving being able to do what they love for a living. A six piece band on tour, they play at an uncompromising volume without sacrificing their precision of form, something laid bare at their sound check, nothing was left sounding good enough.
By the time they get around to playing their newest release, Teenage Exorcist, it is obvious that tonight’s gig is about blowing minds, not melting hearts, and the vocals are deep in the mix, hidden within a wall of noise that threatens to never let up. Hexen Bogon and other tracks from Rave Tapes wash over a very appreciative though not sold out crowd who sway and rock with each ebb and swell of the dynamic live set and when they break out into the opening notes from Hunted by a Freak, the crowd erupts in cheers.
So commanding was their presence and so receptive of it was the crowd, that I only heard one shout out for a song and that only occurred during the encore. Further testimony to their on stage power was that even when they did break, chit chat among the crowd was limited to topics such as “how good was that!” not the minutiae of life you overhear at some concerts.
Maybe it was because the Brisbane gig was the last in Australia, maybe that’s just how they approach every gig, but to my ear they played with abandon, loose, loud and loving it! I could have stood for a few more hours of live Mogwai, but all good things must end and I am left wondering when they’ll be back and how I will get there.