Scottish post-rockers play cuts from across their 10 studio albums to form a pile driving wall of sound
Their path tragically cut short just as they were about to explode across the charts, Brainiac graciously accepted a reunion offer from headliners Mogwai to tour as support act around these scuppered isles. And so for the first time in a near quarter of a century, a fresh new audience gets to enjoy one of indie rock’s worst kept secrets.
It appears in those twenty five years, the band never quite lost what made them so appealing originally. That loud sputtering electronic drum sound, those crunchy guitars, catchy choruses and impeccable cranium grabbing songcraft, all of it remains as enticing as it always did, and the group are maybe even more controlled and sympathetic, having immersed themselves within their catalogue once more. Time won’t heal all wounds for the group, but it certainly appeared to have been thankfully forgiving to them.
It was perhaps an inevitability that coming on after a freeform cobweb blasting tour de force from Dayton, Ohio’s most cerebral of noiseniks, was never gonna be easy and maybe that’s why the Glasgow post-rockers chose to go with Yes I Am A Long From Home as their opening number. The first song from their debut record Young Team, (released the same year that Brainiac ceased) it is a deceptively subtle number that takes its time before it rages.
Unfortunately, we don’t get much from their recent soundtrack work but the night played like a lucky dip, with cuts from across their 10 studio albums and many EPs. Also from Young Team, we get a killer version of Summer, Christmas Steps from Come On Die Young, 2 Rights Make 1 Wrong from Rock Action, and so on all the way through to Ritchie Sacramento and Drive The Nail from their newest full length 2021’s As The Love Continues.
How To Be A Werewolf is possibly the wildest track played tonight and indicative of what has kept Mogwai relevant and beloved. Barry Burns creates a wall of lush synth orchestration for Dominic Aitchison’s sullen and inquisitive bass and Martin Bulloch’s punchy, glitch riddled drumming to play around within, before Stuart Braithwaite gets fed up with the noodling and brings the requisite volume and they rapidly meld together to form a pile driving wall of sound that even Hadrian couldn’t match brick for brick.
Eventually, even their own technology begins to tremble, unable to withstand the pressure beneath the swirling vortex of sound they were generating. Midway through penultimate song, the John Carpenter indebted Remurdered, one of the amps seems to begin giving out but the group carried on resiliently, triumphing over the minor distraction, creating another one of the many highlights of the evening. They encore with My Father My King, and it shows how it’s them who should wear the crown, not their forebears.