Mogwai guitarist Stuart Braithwaite at The Roundhouse

Mogwai: The sun smells too loud

Mogwai | The Roundhouse | 25 June 2015

The Pixies invented the loud-quiet-loud dynamic. Mogwai perfected it. Over the past two decades, the Scottish band have stretched the paradigm to breaking point, exploring the beauty of noise and silence, the drama of contrasts.

And that’s exactly what they’re still doing. The second of two 20th anniversary shows is awash with crunching guitar riffs and waves of feedback, brought back from the edge of chaos by interludes of delicate fretwork and luminous keyboard melodies.

Meticulously crafted and impeccably performed, this ever-evolving music is as powerful as the feelings it evokes, creating a real connection with tonight’s audience. That despite the material’s inherent complexity – and total lack of lyrics, catchy choruses, or look-at-me frontman.

‘Superheroes of BMX’ – a quiet sea of chiming guitars, metronomic drumming, and organ textures that evolves into a storm of distortion – sets the tone for an evening where, over and over again, pent-up tension dissipates in a maelstrom of emotion. Never is this more apparent than in the tumultuous ‘Mogwai Fear Satan’, an almost-20-minute epic, that makes way for the uplifting keyboard-led ‘Auto Rock’ and increasingly thunderous ‘Batcat’.

This is no passive experience. So by the time Mogwai say goodnight with the melancholy ‘I Know You Are But What Am I?’ and slowly approaching tsunami ‘My Father My King’, the Roundhouse crowd have realised the band have put on yet another unique show, one where everyone feels, as much as hears, the music.

  • See the photos here.
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