REVIEW: Mogwai, Belfast Spring and Airbrake, 8th January 2006

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Another year, another Mogwai show. I enjoyed them at the Slint ATP last March and an advance listen of the forthcoming 'Mr Beast' album really impressed me. I have always found them to be a bit of a hit-and-miss as a live act and last night was no exception. I expected them to be as ear-splittingly loud as some of the previous times I had seen them- a show at Kentish Town in the late 90s put me off them for a couple of years due to the pain they induced - but tonight I don't even feel the need for the earplugs in my pocket. I'm not great as far as Mogwai titles are concerned but they tend to stick to the quieter, shorter pieces for a lot of the set. In fact the biggest surprise is their tendency to lean towards vocoder/ electronic percussion and away from the volume overload. On record (like the forthcoming 'Mr Beast') this is refreshing, but in the live setting I was looking for a lot more fire and a lot more action from them. I know Celtic had been dumped out of the Scottish Cup by lowly Clyde, but I didn't think it would dampen their spirits too much. Whether it was that or (once again!) the incessantly loud talking throughout their set, this wasn't a Mogwai show to cherish. 'Mr Beast', though, is well worth a listen.

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