Mogwai: Burning

Post-rock is a genre synonymous with being used as background music for advertisements and film due to its atmospheric and instrumental songs. So it is unsurprising that Mogwai’s long 15 year reign at the top of the genre means their music is used a lot in these forms, but something is always missing. Burning is the first live film to capture to atmosphere, intensity and pure crushing noise that you can only be felt by seeing the Scottish post-rock giants live.

I was recently lucky enough to be at the UK premiere of  Burning as part of the Glasgow Film Festival at the Glasgow Film Theatre. The film itself was filmed over 3 nights at Brooklyn in April 2009 and is directed by Vincent Moon and fellow Frenchman Nataniel la Souanec. Shot in high-contrast black and white, it has a nice feel to it, leaving it easier for the viewer to pull his own interpretations from the songs much easier.

The film makes a strong first impression with the slow and quiet build up of The Precipice and explodes at the climax of the song matched perfectly with fast cut-away abstract shots of the band, the crowd and lights. Fan favourite Hunted By A Freak also manages to make it onto the film which is followed with euphoric scenes of the crowd cheering and smiling. Definitely one of the most uplifting moments of the film. Between songs the film features shots of busy Manhattan and the band walking around New York, which somehow seems to just add to the atmosphere of the film, leading perfecting into each song. New Paths To Helicon pt1 was perhaps my favourite song of the night, which seen guitarist Stuart Braithwaite and bassist Dominic Aitchison swap places. The delicate and beautiful bass line in the song leads the viewer into a false sense of calmness, before blowing them away with an awesome end to the song. The no-nonsense song Batcat closes the show perfectly. Its non-stop riffs and sheer power leave you feeling drained just watching it. A great moment in the song being when credits start rolling as the guitars start to ring down, only to be abruptly taken away as the band go straight back into the song, which I’m sure brought a smile to some peoples faces.

Burning is a brilliantly filmed and executed piece of work, and one which I would feel confident in saying is the most impressive and powerful  live film I have seen in a long time. Coming in at around 50 minutes long, this is a must-see for any Mogwai fan, and a great starting point for anyone looking to get into the band.

Stuart Braithwaite also confirmed in the Q&A after the show that the film will be available on DVD asap and that they will begin recording a new album in the summer!

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About Some_Friend

Stephen. 18. Studying Animation at UWS. Loves all kinds of rock from Mogwai to Tool. Contact Stephen on Twitter or via Email.

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