Mogwai/J Mascis ★★★★½
Chevron Festival Gardens | Review by Harvey Rae
In what was arguably the concert of the year to date, Scottish post-rockers Mogwai turned the amps up to 11 in an exhilarating display at the Festival Gardens.
And they weren’t the only ones throwing out the rule book as Dinosaur Jr. frontman J Mascis performed solo to open the night, running his acoustic guitars through multiple effects including a loop pedal, which allowed him to shred some big solos.
With perhaps the biggest sound a so-called acoustic one-man band has ever produced, Mascis mined his rich back catalogue for solo material, Dinosaur Jr. favourites and even a cover of Mazzy Star’s Fade Into You. The latter ended suddenly with a broken string but it was the Dinosaur tracks that proved most popular.
Get Me was outstanding, and any fears we would miss out on Mascis’ famous lead- guitar work were mislaid as he soloed away throughout.
Likewise the epic Out There, also originally found on 1993’s Where You Been album, was a treat.
Mascis was iconic with his cap, red-rimmed glasses, beard and long, flowing white hair, putting on a show worth the price of entry alone.
But it was Mogwai’s night. From the moment they arrived on stage and broke into the slow build of Heard About You Last Night from last year’s Rave Tapes, the sound was full and loud.
Even the “quiet bits” were deafening enough to make it impossible for the near- capacity audience to talk over, meaning everyone simply stood there awe-struck, jaws stuck to the floor, with the occasional fist pumping in celebration.
Bolstered to a six-piece live by the inclusion of touring member Luke Sutherland, who sang lead on Mexican Grand Prix and looked a natural frontman, it was nonetheless capped founding member Stuart Braithwaite on guitar who was the focal point and stole the show.
Rano Pano and Helicon 1 were early highlights, the latter epic gradually building on an insistent bassline.
Remurdered and We’re No Here closed the set in a feast of strobes and intensity, leading into the brilliant encore of Hunted by a Freak and Batcat.
There was no Mogwai Fear Satan but, filing out of the venue, conversation turned to who would be back again to watch them the following night and hopefully catch that live favourite.
It was that good it deserved a second viewing.