Make way—Mogwai Play Atomic

Mogwai has been a long-standing component in the post-rock world for over 20 years. The Scottish rock band has received acclaim from critics, fans, and their peers.

Listening to the Mogwai discography is like navigating an entire library of sound. Their music is dark, heavy, funny and happy – just beautifully diverse. Here we have a prolific group of musicians – in that they put out albums crammed full of long, epic jam-outs. Sure to get your artistic imagination running wild.

Update Feb 02 – Mogwai Play Atomic – Theatre St-Denis

It was appropriate, or necessary really, that Mogwai’s audience were sitting down at Theatre St. Denis, because their performance of Atomic was so transcendent that had we not been sitting down, we might have left our bodies altogether.

In these dystopian Orwellian days of chaos, there aren’t many bands who are putting out works that truly capture the feeling of the frantic, digital pandemonium we flail through on the regular. However, when Mogwai teamed up with director Mark Cousins to do the soundtrack for his documentary Atomic, Living in Dread and Promise, the Scottish band got it right.


Mogwai = true artists. Far more than your average post-rock band.

Mogwai’s Atomic soundtrack is the first project from their eight albums and twenty years of being a band that didn’t feature John Cummings, who left the band a couple years back. (For those Mogwai fans who are also virtuosic guitar nerds, I know that was a bit of a blow to some of you.)

But Mogwai still managed to turn my eyeballs into spirals.

With a performance that was quintessentially Mogwai: epic jams that lose all sense of time, long-drawn-out sections of orchestral sound, and song titles that are both slightly disturbing and darkly on point (for Atomic, the band took titles relevant to nuclear warfare, like references to Chernobyl).

I really loved that Mogwai kept everything instrumental, as they are sometimes apt to. Because it kept this Atomic opus more timeless, somehow.

To elaborate, Mogwai’s Atomic might not just be a soundtrack to Cousin’s documentary, but to the entire nuclear mess that we currently live amongst.

Mogwai has been to Montreal before (probably with the sorely missed John Cummings), but I didn’t go. So when I found out they were coming back but touting a specific soundtrack, my excitement was bittersweet. I have not yet watched Cousin’s documentary, and I admit I was a little hesitant.

With He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named running America now (ahem, Drumpf), I have enough sordid Twilight Zone detritus in my head daily. But I think their contribution to our apocalypse world is a bit less infuriating than what’s happening politically.

Because they are alchemists. They took the toxic sounds of nuclear disaster and turned it into auditory gold. To get to sit back in Theatre St. Denis and participate in something so powerful made everything seem a little less frantic.

film+live=nuclear fission #mogwai #atomic #mogwaiplayatomic

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Mogwai Play Atomic was presented by evenko and Greenland Productions at Theatre St-Denis on January 31st. When you have some more time, check out Montreal’s Be Astronaut.