LIVE: Mogwai / BDRMM - Usher Hall, Edinburgh, 21/12/2022

LIVE: Mogwai / BDRMM – Usher Hall, Edinburgh, 21/12/2022

We are BDRMM from sunny Hull,” announce BDRMM as they arrive on stage. Indeed they are, and how great they are. Incredibly polite as musicians, their sound is perhaps more indebted to shoegazing (or dream pop, if you prefer) than tonight’s headliners, but they are well chosen as a support act. Led by Ryan Smith, they win the crowd over very quickly. Their self-titled debut album (well, sort of, it’s called Bedroom) is a fantastic record, and the subsequent single releases like ‘Port‘ and ‘Three‘ are fantastic, too. While I’d wager many of the audience may not have heard them before, they are eating out of the palm of their hand. So much so that when they’re having technical problems before they can start their planned last song, and Ryan sheepishly apologises, the band leave the stage to a chorus of cheers. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to see them picking up a whole lot of new fans on their Mogwai support slots.

Last year, Mogwai marked twenty-five years since the release of their debut single, ‘Tuner’/’Lower’, and released their tenth studio album As the Love Continues. Aptly titled, it became their first album to reach no.1. Back in 1997, their debut album Young Team peaked at no.75. To my mind, they’ve never put a foot wrong, but it’s important to note that their sound has evolved over time, whilst unmistakeably still being Mogwai. They’ve been prolific, with a number of soundtrack albums as well (eight at the last count), and yet the quality has never dropped.

Tonight’s show sees, well, the love continuing (cough! – The Ed). Opening with this year’s rather fine ‘Boltfor‘ single this is a show delivered by a band at the peak of their powers. Not just in terms of volume – though that’s spectacular in itself – but how they can showcase a career-spanning set in a way that is reassuringly familiar and yet fresh, too. It’s music to lose and find yourself in, subtle flourishes contrasting with unrestrained energy and release. So we get ‘Ritchie Sacramento’ from their most recent album – a rare occasion in which Mogwai mainman Stuart Braithwaite sings, but also early single ‘New Paths To Helicon Pt.1‘ from 1997. Braithwaite thanks the crowd politely between songs, but for this largely instrumental band this an act who really do let the music do the talking.

It’s perhaps towards the end of the gig that they truly reach a Mount Olympus peak. ‘Like Herod‘ is perhaps one of the most terrifying songs in their catalogue, one which suddenly erupts like the sonic equivalent of the hand appearing in Carrie. It’s also impossible to understate just how good the two encores are. ‘Christmas Steps‘ from a 1998 EP is suitably edgy, and you’re left wondering if this is an ironic comment on the supposed season of goodwill. They finish with ‘My Father My King‘ their twenty minute cover of a Jewish prayer that has often concluded their gigs since before its release in 2001 (yup, this was a single!)

We go out into the cold December night, ears ringing and truly blown away by a band that continue to dazzle, live and on record, nearly three decades into their career. What else could we wish for?

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.