As Liverpool Music Week hurtles into day two, Mogwai melted a fair few faces at their Camp & Furnace headline set, Getintothis’ Patrick Clarke caught all the action.
Though it’s the leviathan post-rock of Mogwai that the masses are here to see, openers of Music Week day two, Ex-Easter Island Head draw an enviable crowd, given it’s only 7pm. Taking to the floor, rather than the stage, they treat a circling gaggle of punters to a set of truly sumptuous ambience, the trio moving in hypnotic unison as they divulge their delicate soundscapes to the hypnotised hundred-or-so.
Perhaps the group’s greatest accomplishment is their unending sense of progression. Though minimalist to a fault they never border on boredom – pushing each protracted instrumental to its limit before unshackling a higher sonic plane. Elegant and poised it’s a beguiling opening, the perfect bending of minds to tee up their equally mind-bending successors.
Mugstar are one hell of a gear shift, unleashing their vigorous psych to barbaric effect. A viscous, sludgy slow bassline opens their set, until the quartet simultaneously attack in a freakout of mountainous proportion.
The set revolves around an incendiary rhythm section, the drum/bass interplay bordering on a magnificence of Led Zeppelin levels, while twisted, squalling lead guitar riffs melt faces atop a maniacal flash of lights. Though a mere half-hour or so the gig hits one hell of a level, leaving Forest Swords an undesirable task to follow.
Fortunately the acclaim that’s followed the former GIT Award winner is far from undeserved, and the evening’s pure quality sees no sign of letting up. There is, that said, a hangover of sorts; with the vibe ebbing back toward a swarming, slow-tempo attack it jars for just a moment, before his quality undoubtedly grips.
By the time Miarches is dropped the crowd are firmly re-enraptured, the cacophonous cheers that greet the end of each set feeling utterly deserved. Its yet another sterling set, and with such eminence exhibited thus far even the polymathic Mogwai have quite the task ahead of them to headline.
Any thoughts of the post-rock Scots falling short feel entirely asinine within minutes of their set, the fivesome untethering wave after wave of euphoric assault to sow rapture amongst a mesmerized throng.
Its a truly Herculean affair, a textural cornucopia of besieging, tumultuous hysteria. Supremely confident, the band relax into extended freakouts, every propulsive groove recieved by their crowd with rhapsodic delight.
The band drift through their lengthy instrumentals with no thought for succinctness, and at times they do border on overkill. For the overwhelming majority of their stage time, however, Mogwai are nothing short of heavenly.
If proof be needed of the group’s magisterial might as a potent live force, their encore is nothing short of staggering. Retreating to a lengthy, tender groove, the band revel in a cooled off grind. But just as their audience near monotony the group suddenly unleash as sublime a live cacophony as is surely humanly possible.
It’s been an evening nothing short of incredible, a triple-bill of Merseyside polymaths cuing up a headline set that knocks weighty expectations out of this dimension. The only question that remains is whether the festival can sustain this exultant momentum. Time will surely tell.
Pictures by Getintothis‘ Gaz Jones and Matt Thomas