Review by Annar Veröld.
Stubb’s is the only place I had ever dreamt of seeing Mogwai perform. The enormous outdoor venue with a brilliant light set up, outrageous speakers, the vastness of the crowds, and the power of their emotive orchestrations reverbing from those god-damn condominiums– Mogwai at Stubb’s was destined for glory, and it panned out as such.
Opening up for Mogwai was brilliant, electro-synth, instrumental band, The Errors. The band definitely kept the momentum going for Mogwai’s performance. The Errors were a great choice for the opener, and both bands complimented each other very well.
With the sun setting into the horizon and the Stubb’s stage illuminated with a series of dark blues that were cut with gentle light beams that split the overtone of hues, the repetitive cadence that majestically eased into “White Noise” was the perfect opening track for Mogwai’s performance.
Promoting their new album, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, Mogwai performed most tracks from that particular album. The evening’s set-list featured “Death Rays” and “How To Be A WereWolf”, both of which were strongly supported by a spectacular light show, perhaps seizure inducing, but the flashing strobes to the rhythm of Mogwai simply made the live performance more invigorating.
One of the evening’s most bone-chilling and soul-thrilling performances was “I Know You Are, But What Am I?” from their 2003 album, Happy Songs for Happy People. The hauntingly eery dissonance and the clashing chords of the piano felt of emotive chaos, capturing the essence of both, beauty and madness. With the extra amps on stage, the terrain of Stubb’s outdoor venue shook to the vibrations spilling from the stage that was engulfed in a steady, dark purple light.
Stuart Braithwaite humbly and nervously approached the microphone, with his charming Scottish accent, as he closed out each track with a “Cheers”, frequently not saying much more than that alone. However, after performing “San Pedro”, Braithwaite managed to mention something about gentrification, in regards to the noise ordinance, to which he made his opinion very clear by leading into “Mexican Grand Prix”– one of Mogwai’s grungier tracks– with the stage flooding with obscure, dark lights.
The evening commenced with a few instrumental music enthusiasts lunging their bodies, punching the air and bobbing their heads, tapping their feet alone. Yet, there is a reoccurring trend I have observed. When the audience knows that the end is near– that each second is inching towards the end of a terribly anticipated show that exudes pure magic– they move harder, swifter, they shout louder, and raise their hands higher. By the end of the evening, Mogwai’s audience swayed aggressively, especially during the encore performances of “Auto-Rock“ and “Glasgow Mega-Snake “
Mogwai is the perfect example of what music truly is; Mogwai is a brilliant representation of art– encompassing the full definition– beauty without boundaries, limitless and flourishes in wildness. Some instrumental and progressive musicians play safely in some sort of formulated and carefully composed piece of music, but listening to Mogwai– especially live– drives you to their world of music that sounds of orchestrations from the pried sutures of the Universe. With them, you are unfamiliar and unknowing of what you will find and discover– each chord is an anticipating surprise– such things resonate live. Due to the Austin noise-ordinance, the performances end early, calling it a night. However, Mogwai resonated pretty well throughout the rest of the evening, ringing ears and shaking walls.
(Editor’s note: Mogwai performed at Stubb’s in Austin, Texas on May 16, 2011. Due to technical difficulties, we were not able to publish live photos from this concert but felt it was necessary to tell you about. If Mogwai doesn’t need words, then we don’t need pictures right? Thanks for reading.)