Concert Review: Mogwai, Women @ First Avenue


Mogwai live at First Avenue
Famed Scottish post-rock quintet Mogwai were in Minneapolis to play First Avenue this Sunday, May 10th, and we were there to witness the maddening bliss. Though the band were kind enough to devote ample time to songs from each phase of their illustrious career, they focused on their recent album The Hawk Is Howling, injecting each song they touched with live intensity and jazz-like freeform emotional energy that no other post-rock band can match so confidently.

Not surprisingly, the performance was a vocally quiet one, with Barry only stepping out from behind the keyboards for unaffected  vocals on one song and little on stage banter other than a ‘thank you’ here and there. Instead, ‘Gwai played to their strengths by delivering a set that boldly emphasized the aural extremes at which they excel. For me, the most engrossing moments of the set were both the most reserved and the most bombastic. Whether it was the reserved cadence of “I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead”, the epic buildup of “Killing All the Flies”, or the oppressive heaviness of “We’re No Here”, each song was alive with an other-worldly, surging energy that true musicians live to create, and the crowd was receptively feeding off it every second of the night.

Additionally, it was Stuart’s birthday that night, and the band was in notably high spirits throughout their performance; sometimes maybe even a little bit too much so, as there were some miscommunications that resulted in a light-hearted, alcohol induced fumble or two (namely when they veered off the planned setlist without letting Dominic know what key they were changing into). Nevertheless, the crowd was in such good of a mood to finally see the band after their late cancellation last September that any mishaps were quickly forgiven. In fact, the adoring applause enticed the band to return to the stage for two whole encores before Stuart received a ceremonial birthday pranking and the lights came on to send us on our way back out for a post-concert brew.

The fuzzy, lo-fi psychedelic Canadian indie rockers in Women did an excellent job building anticipation for the headliners. Never having seen them before, I was very impressed with the way in which they were able to transform a simple little ditty into an explosive psychedelic brain melter within a matter of seconds. With their jagged rhythms and pounding beats, they inject something very fresh and different into the lo-fi sound that I’ve been hearing proliferate through the indie scene in the last two years. Truth-be-told, the only band that I’ve seen capable of similar feats is our local boys in Vampire Hands, and from my point of view a comparison to Vampire Hands is just about the best compliment you can give to a modern experimental indie rock band.

As always, we were fortunate to capture a slew of exclusive Mind Inversion media at the show. Among the goodies we collected are 3 live videos from Mogwai’s set, 1 live video of Women, and too many photos to count right now. It’s all below!

VIDEO: Mogwai, “We’re No Here” (live at First Avenue, 05/10/09)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

VIDEO: Women, Live at First Avenue in Minneapolis, MN, 05/10/09

Women live at First Avenue(Women)

Women live at First Avenue(Women)

Women live at First Avenue(Women)

VIDEO: Mogwai, “I Know You Are But What Am I?” (live at First Avenue, 05/10/09)

Epic a/v content after the jump! I’ve still got another video excerpt of “Like Herod” from the first encore (which I’ll give a C on visuals, but a B+ on audio) and tons of photos…

VIDEO: Mogwai, “Like Herod (excerpt)” (live at First Avenue, 05/10/09)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Women live at First Avenue(Women)

Women live at First Avenue(Women)

Women live at First Avenue(Women)

Women live at First Avenue(Women)

Women live at First Avenue(Women)

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One Response to “Concert Review: Mogwai, Women @ First Avenue”

  1. […] is showing some love for Mogwai. It’s been a month since the Scottish post-rockers came to play the mainroom in First Avenue, and in the meantime some great audio from their stay in the city is slowly leaking from the […]

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