Mogwai @ the 9:30 Club, Washington DC, August 3rd

By David Wharton

Aug 5, 2009 4:46pm

Each time I've seen Mogwai perform live, the band has ended the gig with ten minutes – at least – of feedback, Marshall stacks squealing at glass-shattering decibels while guitarists Stuart Braithwaite, John Cummings and Barry Burns scratch and claw and their instruments, coaxing out a cacophony that can leave bewildered onlookers unsure whether to bask in the shrill spectacle of simply leave. For a band that can seem, at times, a touch two-dimensional – do they favor the robust, propulsive epics ("Glasgow Mega-Snake") or the calmer melodic interludes ("Killing All The Flies") – this is a decisive moment, a statement to a noncommittal foreign audience in need of a lasting impression of the lads appropriately known as the Scottish Guitar Army. After a varied 90-minute set, Mogwai matter-of-factly returned to the 9:30 club stage to perform an encore consisting solely of "My Father, My King." In the fashion of their best tracks, the 20-minute behemoth effortlessly and seamlessly blends the band's two faces. The song ebbs and flows perfectly; guitars twinkle suggestively, chime prettily, growl ominously, then scream bloody murder and repeat as necessary. It's all followed by the inevitable dousing of feedback, ended mercifully by the band's roadies some 15 minutes later. The message is clear: it might be 'post-rock', but this band is no Sigur Ros/ Mogwai hates your eardrums and wants to destroy them, beautifully.(guest blogger Luke Entelis)   

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