June 12th, 2012
Mogwai are one of those bands that some people just go APE over. Some fans are as crazy about them as people get about the Smiths, the Pixies and the Cure. In fact, they’re all a little related and Mogwai opened for two different tours with the Pixies and the Cure. Their sound’s been dubbed post-rock, which is a category that longtime band member Barry Burns renounced in an interview saying it was overanalytical. But their sound has ebbed and flowed over the course of seven albums in the last 15 years. They’ve experimented with wordless and long compositions which oscillate between quiet, tense minimalism and screeching, distorted violent noise. They definitely have had moments of metal, but also spent a couple records playing with electronic sounds, synths, beats and spaced-out arrangements. Nevertheless, they’ve always been a favorite of John Peel and often championed at NME as the best thing since sliced bread. They belong in an elite class of harder rock that started in the ’90s (and sometimes ’70s and ’80s) and will forever be planted at the heart of a rock canon: Fugazi, My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, Slint, Wire, Black Sabbath, and Arab Strap.
As if Mogwai touching down in Philadelphia weren’t enough, our Reyan Ali also thinks the opener’s worth the price of admission, too:
“As Balam Acab, Alec Koone makes music that’s formless and meandering. In this instance, those words aren’t necessarily negatives. Koone maps out spooky, ambient songs that run on unintelligible childlike voices, the pleasant hum of flowing water, shuffling synths and thumping beats that add some much-needed structure. This is the kind of stuff that would come in handy during long nighttime drives and lazy spring afternoons spent gazing at plants and lakes. Once in a while, a Balam song focuses on one especially intriguing element, like the gorgeous violin line woven through “Expect”—off 2011’s Wander/Wonder. Although Koone’s baby probably won’t make any serious waves soon, his work has appeared in a couple odd spots. “See Birds” soundtracked a L’Oréal ad featuring Beyoncé, and in the pages of Entertainment Weekly, actress Ellen Page raved that Balam’s music “Transports my mind to another place and makes me dance like a freak.”” – R.A.
8pm. $20. With Mogwai. Union Transfer, 1024 Spring Garden St. utphilly.com