Gig review: Mogwai,

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February 20 @ Leeds O2 Academy

Mogwai are not like any other band around. It isn’t just because they are a largely instrumental band or that they are misunderstood as dour and depressing. They don’t fit into any genre which is probably why they get so little press coverage.

Frequently likened to Sigur Ros and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, their sound is more akin to their heroes, Slint and Sonic Youth.

There is little by way of chat at Mogwai gigs – and their performance at the packed O2 Academy in Leeds didn’t differ from that – but they did seem to be having fun – which may have been due to their beloved Glasgow Celtic’s 3-0 win over Rangers rather than the welcome from the Yorkshire crowd.

But less chat means more songs and their ear-numbing hour and half gig belted through classics from their 15 year-plus repertoire, including their seventh studio album, this time on the iconic SupPop label, Hardcore Will Never Die. But You Will.

The floating, winding melodies from the five-piece – supported by Luke Sutherland on violin and guitar – rocked the foundations of the venue.

Their uplifting noise rock proves a band doesn’t need traditional verse-chorus-verse lyrics to truly sing.

They again proved they are masters of their craft, the crowd were disappointingly subdued but Stuart Braithwaite, on vocals and guitar, still seemed to enjoy himself – even when he started to play the wrong tune.

Their soaring, swirling abrasive tunes are a refreshing change to most bands around at the moment.

Mogwai are utterly brilliant on their albums – but to hear them at their best is to hear them live where their emotional, melodic beautiful songs can really breathe. Unlike many bands they only seem to get better with age.

GILLIAN HAWORTH

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