It´s cold outside in this snowy Saturday night which marks the second day of Festival Antigel. It’s pretty cold inside the Pont-Rouge Hall CFF in Carouge as well, where nobody dares to get rid of winter coats and beanie hats but luckily it is not long until Mogwai take over the stage and heat the place up. A Scottish flag on the amplifier reminds the audience where the band comes from. A huge black flag is hanging from the background featuring the art-work on the cover of their last album Rave Tapes (2014).
The room darkens, the public cheers as the five lads of Mogwai enter the stage. As soon as they come in, guitarist Stuart Braithwaite introduces the band to the audience with a friendly: “Bonsoir, we’re Mogwai from Glasgow, Scotland. We’re very happy to be back in Geneva!”. The first few songs they play are rather quiet and set you in the right mood to enjoy the journey through their dreamy and ethereal sounds. The first one, “Heard About You Last Night” which is the opening track of Rave Tapes, starts with keyboard notes sounding like xylophone. The guitars and the drums’ beats gently come in and the audience is invited to take the dreamy path straight away. They go back to 2006 with “Friend Of The Night” where the piano sets the background as the riffs become increasingly faster. Mogwai are able to choose the right chords and sounds that get straight to your soul and warm your heart. “Cody”, the third song they play is one of the few to contain lyrics, and they are truly beautiful ones. Stuart Braithwaite’s whispered voice seems here to echo the sounds in the background, as it is very quiet. After every song he thanks the cheering audience with a friendly “Merci beaucoup! Thank you!”.
They take the audience back to their early years with “Ex-Cowboy” where every note and beat represent a step towards an amazing crescendo of sounds before drawing once again into the quietness of those addictive arpeggiated chords which are so distinctive of the band. And this process is repeated in time, rendering the song just perfect with some space sounds coming in as well. There are three guitars in the livelier instrumental bits as to intensify the riffs, one guitarist plays the arpeggio while the other two play the chords on their respective guitars.
In “White Noise” the guitars and drums in the background are quite hard as the piano and synths seem to have more free range. The trick is to close your eyes and take in the noise. Sometimes the sounds are so loud and powerful that they make the entire floor vibrate under your feet, getting straight to your heart.
They thank the public for coming along and fight the cold, announcing that they will play some more songs. They play, “Remurdered”, that with its constant beats recalls drum & bass music, the arpeggiated electric guitar chords break in between the beats. The synths sounds take over half-way into the song. At one point they use a twelve-string guitar which adds chorus and more power. In “We’re No Here” the guitar riffs become yet more aggressive as well as the drums, with the drummer beating them powerfully. When Mogwai leave the stage they let the amplifiers still on making a scratching echo-y sound.
They come back on stage for an encore, during “Hunted By A Freak” the keyboarder sings with his voice distorted by the microphone. The lights turn red as the synth comes in and together with the drums dictates a tilting rhythm with some power beats. The grand finale is an explosion of guitar riffs and sounds in the middle of the song “Mogwai Fear Satana”, with the lights suddenly flashing white as to wake the audience up from their dreamy trip. Mogwai thank everybody once again, leaving the audience with a bag of great memories to cherish. They played songs taken from pretty much all their albums, a good choice to make old as well as new fans happy. Of course it isn’t an easy task to decide among more than 17 years of music, but they did very well!
Heard About You Last Night
Friend Of The Night
I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead
New Paths to Helicon, Pt.2
How To Be A Warewolf
New Paths to Helicon, Pt.1
We’re No Here
Hunted By A Freak (encore)
Mogwai Fear Satana (encore)