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  • Event data supplied by Leeds Inspired

Music, Sat 24 Nov 2018




The 2017 January night before Donald Trump was elected 45th President of the USA, art-rock alchemists Mogwai played Berkeley in California. Inside the packed UC Theatre they stoically steered through Atomic, their 2016 soundtrack for Atomic: Living In Dread And Promise, northern Irish film director Mark Cousins' devastating dissection of nuclear history as the film itself rolled out behind the band. Mogwai's eerie symphonic intensity dramatically magnified the catastrophic imagery of actual armageddon. For some, it was a sensory overload too far.

“Sixteen people passed out,” notes Stuart Braithwaite, merrily, Mogwai's guitarist, worldly sage, Twitter wit and (very) occasional singer. “I don't know if the Americans had done their research. 'What the...!?' Stretchered out. It was warm, a lot of them were stoned and they were seeing a nuclear apocalypse in from of them when they were about to elect as President a man-baby with no soul, who's in the pocket of the Russians, about to start world war three. It was too much, the perfect storm!” For twenty-two years Mogwai have been making the rest of us metaphorically pass out: in rapturous awe, in brutalised dread and transcendental promise. Since 1995 Glasgow's post-rock pioneers have been a sonic perfect storm, the musical equivalent of both Francis Bacon's horror paintings and William Blake's visions of angels in the trees (or, if you like, the aural equivalent of Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience Showing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul, except by exuberant Scottish jesters in sturdy rainwear, here in the 21st Century). The more precarious the world becomes, the more their music is escapist balm, more so than ever inside the cocooning deliverance of their ninth studio album, Every Country's Sun. “If we can distract anyone from the shambles and stupidity for even a couple of minutes,” decides Barry Burns, Mogwai's ever-wry multiinstrumentalist, “then that’s better than anything, excepting valium.” Every Country's Sun takes two decades of Mogwai's signature, contrasting sounds – towering intensity, pastoral introspection, synth-rock minimalism, DNA-detonating volume - and distills it, beautifully, into 56 concise minutes of gracious elegance, hymnal trance-rock and transcendental euphoria. Produced by psycherock luminary Dave Fridmann it's a structural soundscape built from its stark foundations up, from a gentle, twinkling, synth-rock spectre to a solid, distortion-rock, skyward-thrusting obelisk. There's percussive, dreamstate electronics (Coolverine), church organs as chariots of existential fire (Brain Sweeties), tremulous, foreboding bleeping, possibly from a dying android (aka 47) while the last three songs explode from the sonic womb into raging, elemental life. Their most transportive album yet, it also hosts their most fully realised artpop sing-along of all time, Party In The Dark, a head-spinning disco-dream double-helix echoing New Order and The Flaming Lips, featuring Braithwaite's seldom-heard melodic vocals declaring he's “directionless and innocent, searching for another piece of mind”. Burns still can't believe his ears. “That one turned out as close to a radio hit as we’re likely to get,” he smiles. “I find myself humming it which is not normal.” This is music as a keep-out chrysalis, protective audio armour through exalting organs and portentous, dissonant guitar fuzz warping at the edges, bending the world inside out into a reality you'd much rather live in. The last three songs ascend into explosive exorcism, closing with the colossal Every Country's Sun, its searching intensity wooshing towards infinity in a dazzling cosmic crescendo.

Cash PointCredit cards accepted (no fee)Disabled toiletsOn-site light refreshmentsAccepts groups

Event details

Dates Times
Sat 24 Nov 2018 19:30 to 00:00

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date event
Sat 24 Nov Mogwai



    55 Cookridge Street,
    LS2 3AW



    See location of O2 Academy Leeds on Google mapsSee location on Google maps

    Map reference: SE 298340  Lat: 53.80146 Long: -1.54901

    By Car:

    Arrive in Leeds city centre and follow signs for the loop road. Pass the Town Hall on your left and follow the road around. Take the next left into Cookridge Street, where the Academy is found off Millenium Square.

    By Public Transport:

    From Leeds railway station walk up Park Row. Head over The Headrow and walk past the Radisson Hotel. Cross the road by the cathedral and carry straight on. Pass the new museum and the academy is straight ahead on the left.

    Parking: with charge

    Accessible by Public Transport: 0 miles from Leeds station


    • Cash PointCash Point
    • Credit cards accepted (no fee)Credit cards accepted (no fee)
    • Disabled toiletsDisabled toilets
    • On-site light refreshmentsOn-site light refreshments
    • Accepts groupsAccepts groups