The first thing you notice when Mogwai hit the stage is how fucking enormous the stage at the Piraeus Academy is and how small Mogwai look when placed up on it. Everything has been pushed right back leaving a chasm of space at the front, filled with various pedal boards that band members, multi instrumentalist Barry Burns, guitarist Stuart Braithwaite, Dominic Aitchison on bass, and the recently returned from illness Martin Bulloch on drums, occasionally stepped forward to play. And this is when it hits you, despite being placed very firmly into the effects laden post rock genre, live they are miles away from bands such as the gadget ridden ‘God Is An Astronaut’, or the visually dominant Sigur Ros. No big screens here, no massive light show (although what they had worked wonderfully well), just 5 Scotsmen under a moody light playing a fucking awesome show.
Opening with the beautiful, ‘I Heard About You last Night’ from the fantastic ‘Rave Tapes’ album, the band were nestled tightly at the back, hunched over pianos. The glorious melody washing over the empty, deep blue stage. Every Country’s Sun’s ‘Crossing The Road Material’ and ‘We are not done’ from Kin, brought the band members to the front, with the latter seeing Stuart Braithwaite step up to the mic for the first time in the evening. Every Country’s Sun is, as expected, heavily featured here with ‘Coolverine’, ‘Don’t Believe The Fife’, ‘Old Poisons’ and the title track being added to the Before mentioned, ‘Crossing The Road’ Don’t let this fool you though, the set list ranged from the very beginning with ‘Mogwai Fear Satan’ from 1997’s Young Team and spanned their entire career. I’m not sure that Mogwai could ever be called a greatest hits band but ‘Hunted By A Freak with that glorious anthemic vocoder, and ‘I’m Jim Morrison’ with the piano introduction that belongs in a cathedral, are certainly fan favourites and they received the appropriate response.
It seems that Mogwai are a band currently at the top of their game as they move from guitars to synths and back again, giving each band member a chance to shine. It all seemed so effortless as they swoop from the quiets and build into the raging torrents of noise. These dynamics, that it should be noted, were dealt with remarkably well from the venues acoustics, allowing the silence to breathe and the noise to crush. Epic is frequently a word banded about at these gigs but it is done so for a reason, epic it was.
Earlier on, Greek band Afformance had showcased their brand of Post Rock in style. Cut down to a four piece from their regular six on this particular night they continue to excel and their sound filled this cavernous room quite beautifully. Taken from albums such as ‘Music for Imaginary Film #1’ and ‘Pop Nihilism’, the set list stood up well to what was to follow.