CONCERT REVIEW : Mogwai, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, 7th November 2021


Its fair to say you know roughly what to expect at a Mogwai gig.  Or do you? Yes, the musical talents are without question, but the variation in the band’s repertoire leaves you wondering what’s coming next at times.  Tonight’s Glasgow gig will showcase their most recent release, the 2020 album As The Love Continues, alongside a few other choice cuts.

Opening for Mogwai tonight are Pictish Trail.  Hailing from the Inner Hebridean village of Eigg, Johnny Lynch and his colleagues serve up an enthusiastic set which sets the tone for the evening ahead, his brand of electronic music coupled with guitars, loops, effect pedals and meaningful lyrics was well received and after a short time they cleared the stage for the main act.

Released in February 2021, Mogwai’s most recent record, ‘As The Love Continues’ hit the number one spot in the UK album charts, their tenth release but first chart topper.  Several of the tracks from this album would be showcased this evening.  Opening with the first track on the record ‘To the Bin My Friend, Tonight We Vacate Earth’ the band set out their stall for the next hour or two, haunting vibes with a slow build up leading to a crescendo of guitars and keyboards, the use of a vocoder on some tracks by front man Stuart Braithwaite adds to the dynamics, with the Royal Concert Hall providing the perfect acoustics for the music, albeit an unfamiliar venue for the band.

There are hints of many influences on the music.  Kraftwerk on some parts, New Order on others, throw in some Sonic Youth and a touch of The Cure and you get my drift.  ‘Here We, Here We, Here We Go Forever’, ‘Dry Fantasy’, ‘Ceiling Granny’ and ‘Drive the Nail’, all new numbers performed with an energy and enthusiasm, with the audience entranced in the hypnotic sounds.

Alongside Braithwaite on stage are Dominic Aitchison on bass, Barry Burns on guitar and keyboards, Martin Bulloch on drums and Alex Mackay on guitars and keyboards.   The noise they make together is sublime, it’s simple yet complex and is easy to lose yourself while listening to it.

The music continues with the typical slow build-up of soft cymbals and bassline, building to a euphoric climax before gently resuming the calmness. ‘It’s What I Want To Do, Mum’ and ‘Old Poisons’ close the main set before returning with a storming version of vocal number ‘Ritchie Sacramento’, the highlight oif the evening for me, and closing with the piledriver ‘Mogwai Fear Satan’ with its calm…. calm… BOOM middle section, before order is restored towards the end.  And with that, another Mogwai show was over.

This is a new one on me, a gig with tunes and not many words, no jump about parts but rather very laid-back sections allowing the music to take control, however it was none the less an enjoyable evening.  Musically Mogwai are superb, and the sold-out Glasgow audience lapped up every minute of tonight’s performance.  The new stuff sounds great, the older well-known tunes still do the business.  A top evening for music lovers.

Review & Photographs by Stephen Wilson