Mogwai Cast a Post-Rock Spell in Montreal

Corona Theatre, April 9

Photo: Stephan Boissonneault

BY Spencer Nafekh-BlanchettePublished Apr 10, 2022

With 25 years, 10 studio albums, and countless EPs and film scores under their belts, you never know which version of Mogwai you're going to get live. Yet one thing is certain of the veterans Scottish post-rockers: when a band with such an extensive career and impressive discography is coming to town, it's bound to be a good time.

This could be witnessed as Montreal's Corona Theatre opened its doors to a slurry of fans new and old Saturday evening (March 9). Built in 1912, the venue's history of hundreds of diverse performances can easily be perceived in its gothic architecture and lofty ceilings. As band members graced the stage at 9 p.m., all the pieces came together — it only made sense for a group as epic in scope as Mogwai to play in front of a sold-out crowd on a platform that has existed for more than 100 years.

The band set the tone with the larger-than-life "To the Bin My Friend, Tonight We Vacate Earth," the opening track from their latest album, 2021's As the Love Continues. Though their performance mainly consisted of tracks from this latest effort, it was by no means a disappointment: As the Love Continues was their first effort to hit No. 1 on the UK Charts (an extra-remarkable feat given that this all happened at the peak of the pandemic), a testament to their enduring resonance and continued ability to amass new fans. But the band made sure to give the crowd a taste of their back catalogue as well, with fan favorites like "After the Flood" cropping up throughout the set to keep listeners on their feet.

Simply put, Mogwai are a band that is conducive to live music. Their tracks typically range between five and seven minutes, and slowly build up and wind down to elevate listeners before placing them back on stable ground. Though they're not a band inclined to mid-performance banter — save for Stuart Braithwaite's occasional "thank you"s and "merci beaucoup"s at the end of nearly every song — Mogwai demonstrated to the crowd at the Corona that they care about the music more than anything. To witness the talent of Braithwaite as he seamlessly transitioned from bass to electric guitar — and multi-instrumentalist Barry Burns from the keyboard to the Gibson SG — was an impressive sight. 

Nearing the end of their performance, Braithwaite took a moment to thank a spellbound crowd. "Thank you all for being here," Braithwaite said, "you guys are making us feel right at home here in Montreal." This was followed by a raucous thunder of chanting and screaming, which made for a spectacular way to end off a truly magical evening.

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