at The Sage, Gateshead, U.K., February 12, 2023

MOGWAI (Live at The Sage, Gateshead, U.K., February 12, 2023)
Photo: Mick Burgess

Scottish Post Rockers, Mogwai may be just about the biggest cult band in the world right now. To most they remain something of an unknown quantity yet a number one album in 2021 for their As The Love Continues album, their tenth in a recording career spanning almost 25 years, tells a different story. For sure, there’s no headlining grabbing scandals or attention seeking gimmicks to fill the gossip columns instead the focus is purely on the music.

Hall One of The Sage was packed for the return of Mogwai to the region for the first time in five years and even the seating was removed from the main floor for the occasion.

Opening with the wonderfully titled “To The Bin My Friend, Tonight We Vacate The Earth” from their latest release, sets the tone for the evening. It’s dark, moody and melodramatic, a real slow burner that reaches a cataclysmic climax.

“I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead” with its emotive, shimmering melody and ethereal layers of smooth, caressing synths was as hypnotic and it was mesmerising.

At times the music is sparse and barren, tiptoeing intricately with delicate, iridescent melodies, weaving back and forth while at others three guitars roar in a sonic tornado. The ebbs and flows of the music was enhanced by a simple, yet devastatingly effective light show which added to the sense of melodrama.

“Cody” brought a rare vocal from guitarist Stuart Braithwaite amongst the mainly instrumental music but who needs vocals and lyrics when the music is so empowering.

There was little in between song chat other than a cursory “Thank you” and there was little or no movement on stage to distract from the musical journey. Mogwai, stand and fall on their music and when the likes of “Mogwai Fears Satan” clocks in at over 15 minutes anything else is superfluous.

With a freedom from record label pressure and passing trends, Mogwai are a rare breed that can plough their own furrow in any musical direction that they so wish. The world’s best kept secret just keeps getting better.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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