Story and Photos by Matt SchwenkeIn a short run of US shows before a busy European schedule, the Scottish guitar army that is Mogwai sold-out the intimate Logan Square Auditorium, and drawing from their more than 10-year history together, the Glasgow natives continue to push the edges of dynamics and song-writing in a way only they can.
Touring in support of the newly released Mr. Beast, Mogwai started the evening with a whirlwind of guitars on "Glasgow Mega-Snake" and then slow drifting keys on "Friend of the Night," both off of the new album. Dipping deep into their post-rock catalogue, the pulsing "Summer" from their initial release Young Team completed the platform of old and new tunes for which the rest of the night would spring from. Like the cute, furry, little mythical animal they share their name with, Mogwai was at times be melodically playful, sonically calming and quiet-- as in "Kids Will Be Skeletons" where Stuart Braithwaire's guitar merely whispered or in "Hunted A Freak" where Barry Burns added haunting synth-laden vocals while on the keys amidst the swelling guitars braced by John Cummings. But like feeding the gremlin-producing creature after midnight, they too have a distinctly dark and mischievous side to their musical existence as evidenced in the body-shaking guitar assaults of "Ithica 27o9" or in the crashing and then crushing waves of "Like Herod" where the force coming out of the speakers nearly challenged the footing of the crowd-- earplugs are always available beforehand and are must for a Mogwai show. Not letting up one bit, bassist Dominic Aitchison and drummer Martin Bulloch were extremely powerful in an encore performance of the intricate, feedback-laden "Folk Death 95" and the hard-driving soundscape "Mogwai Fear Satan."
Quite unlike the tongue-in-cheek, self-proclaimed warning that the Scotsmen were coming to the US to "bore our transatlantic cousins with our version of their version of dull guitar music," Mogwai shone brightly through their own fog and continue to produce engaging and heady music without the pop staples of prominent vocals and catchy choruses.
Mogwai setlist: Glasgow Mega-Snake
Friend of the Night
Travel Is Dangerous
You Don't Know Jesus
Kids Will Be Skeletons
Hunted By A Freak
May Nothing But Happiness Come Through Your Door
We're No Here
Folk Death 95
Mogwai Fear Satan
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