Last night I went to see the Glasgow band Mogwai at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange. Mogwai are a very strange band – they hardly ever have vocals in any of their music and seem to be willfully difficult to approach on an emotional level. I think half of their music is sublime, trippy guitar rock that manages to be both soothing and energetic, with obvious influences from My Bloody Valentine, Jesus and Mary Chain and perhaps contrastingly, Brian Eno and Moby.
The other half is painful to listen to and is so angry and full of distortion that it’s like another band altogether. Both sides of Mogwai have always existed, mixed up on all their albums. The shoegazers just love ‘em.
Last night was a night for all 4 Mogwai guitarists to turn their amps and distortion pedal controls to 11 (cf. Spinal Tap) and turn my brain into jelly. I was hoping that I’d get to hear some of the Mogwai I like, but it was not to be sadly. They only played 3 tracks that I recognised (most of the setlist must have come from their new album) and one of them was ‘Like Herod’ which is more of an assault on the senses than anything else. They did however play ‘Hunted by a Freak’, one of my favourites, and also ‘Christmas Steps’ which is a great track.