Live Review: Mogwai / Brainiac – Sage Gateshead, Gateshead 12.02.2023

Adam Littlemore

By Hazel Littlemore

What a night it was at the Sage Gateshead, the first band to open up the night were Brainiac and this was the first time I heard them perform. So hard to describe their sound and put into words, with the lead singer vocals running them through old Moogs, modulating and distorting his voice into a robotic caterwaul. Guitarist John Schmersal pegged it as too weird even for Brainiac, pushed their sound even further out with his fried electronics and circuit-bending with drums very loud while you there getting caught up in the wall of sound around you with the atmosphere.

The last band that everyone was waiting to see was Mogwai. I saw Mogwai perform back in 2015 at Newcastle University and they just blew me away. You get lost in their sound, getting caught up with the emotions of the sounds and atmosphere. They always take me on an emotional journey with their cathartic double-feint noise terror of tracks Like Herod or the rolling, Mountainous.

The lighting on stage was set to silhouette the band anonymously at the base of a strafing series of spotlights and a blood-red backdrop wash showing the cover of last year’s number one album ‘As the Love Continues’. The makers of the noise mostly hidden among their amps with only guitarist Stuart Braithwaite’s voice being heard, gentlemanly thanks to the crowd and his pining, melodic vocals on ‘Cody’ and ‘Ritchie Sacramento’. The two songs from either end of their career which bring together Mogwai’s lightest and most reassuring sonic expression. Taken in the sound and ambients and just closing your eyes and being in the moment and taking yourself away with their wall of sound.

Photos by Adam Littlemore

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