Mogwai @ Leith Theatre, Edinburgh, 22 Aug
Steadily redefining the word 'epic' in Scottish music for the last twenty years, Mogwai's performance at Leith Theatre tonight proves they're one of the best live bands on the fucking planet
Luke Sutherland's newest project, Rev Magnetic, are an ideal band to support Mogwai; they share enough of their quiet/loud dynamics and wall of noise builds to be on similar musical terrain, but they also have some remarkably inventive effects pad moves and a delicate vocal interplay that keeps one foot firmly in the dream-pop category. This makes them more interesting than any number of Mogwai-lite wannabes. Plus, they've got a wonderfully epic closing song in Don't Let Joy Destroy You.
Mogwai, the band that've been steadily redefining the word 'epic' in Scottish music for the last twenty years, are in typically fine form tonight. There are no superfluous moments in the almost two-hour set, just back-to-back songs drawn mostly from last year's excellent Every Country's Sun, but with a good number of surprises. Heard About You Last Night is an unusual opener, but it creates a bewitchingly eerie atmosphere inside the old theatre. Even more left-field is the main set closer, Like Herod, an absolute powerhouse of a track that Mogwai haven't aired live for a few years, but one that fits snugly into a set that seems insistent on continually re-evaluating exactly how intense it can be.
There are notable absences from the set – Mogwai Fear Satan and Hunted by a Freak – but the band make it clear that they aren't reliant on any particular songs, as the encore is comprised of a mighty duo. First, there's a chorus of good and bad-natured shushing as New Paths to Helicon, Pt. 1 slowly comes to life, before drowning out any noise that would dare oppose it. After that, it's My Father, My King, a true behemoth of a song that blends the tranquility and dissonance that characterises the best of Mogwai.
In the quieter moments, a drunk fan continuously shouts: “best live band on the fucking planet!” Annoying? Definitely. Accurate? Quite possibly...