Mogwai – Powerstation: March 1, 2024 (Concert Review)

Starting his weekend in style, 13th Floor Reviewer Simon Coffey, went to see Scottish musical situationists Mogwai at the Powerstation, to relive 2016 all over again.

Mogwai formed in Glasgow in 1995, are described (by others) as post-rock. As the Mogwairavages of longevity impact, membership is down to three from the original four or three from five if you aren’t a purist and go with the Barry Burns enhanced version. Tonight’s Mogwai‘s line-up featured bonafides Stuart Braithwaite on vocals and guitar, Dominic Aitchison on bass and Martin Bulloch on drums, accompanied by touring musicians Alex Mackay on guitar and Maria Sappho on keys.

Last seen in Aotearoa in 2016, with the 2014 ‘amazballs’ Rave Tapes in tow, Mogwai were… an amazing concert experience, surpassing all my expectations. And ever since reading an interview/review of Stuart Braithwaite’s fabulous 2022 autobiography Spaceships Over Glasgow in the Guardian, where he was quoted as saying “It’s even easier for weirdos to find each other now than in the 90s, I’d been hoping for a return visit.


Celine are aged. Aged in that they were originally active in the mid 90’s, formed by singer/guitarist Rob Lundon (Pit Viper) and drummer Andrew Moon (Goblin Mix) CelineCeline became part of the scene of alternative, like-minded rock groups, supporting luminaries like Bailter Space and Pavement. The current live lineup includes original member Rob Lundon and two new members, bassist Kirsten Smith (Sperm Bank 5) and drummer Marty Doo.

It shines! it shines! The drummer’s kit is lit up like the famous street in Ponsonby, and photographed as much by audience members. The drummer later tells me in the toilets (where many great meetings happen) he found them under a house he was living in years back.

Immediately it is immediately apparent that Celine‘s sound is rooted in the 90s post-punk sound, with an element of shoegaze to boot, and can’t help but make early comparisons to early Dinosaur Jr and Bailter Space.

The three-piece combination shrieks stripped-back simplicity, which later in the night is realised as the perfect pre-Mogwai juxtaposition. The (sole) singer’s vocals are levelled within the raucousness coming offstage, the drums are just a little high, happily though as his talents are easily recognisable and the. Bass is an undercurrent that balances out the tonal guitar fuzz, and about five songs in a guitar change lends itself to a ballad that reminisces of the post-SST period Husker Du and early Bob Mould sound.

Not a word is spoken, and the ending is abrupt, like many of their songs, which are messy, at times distorted, but maybe, hopefully, intentional. Many folk in the filing room were appreciative, perhaps taken back to when monotonous and repeated guitar tunings happened a little too often, in stoic silence.


There’s a lot of tuning up of (many) guitars, channel checking, mic testing and water bottle placing as minimalist drum music sets the stage for Mogwai. The Powerstation is almost full house, the Merch t-shirts are selling like hotcakes, and I’m enjoying the expanded Mogwairange of craft beers available at the bar.

With a simple industry standard wave the five band members go to their allotted positions, and they begin. The bass! The bass! The drums! The drums are pushing so much air, each hit creates a sonic wave during the first two songs (and onwards), columns and pillars of white and blue light dance on stage over and around the players, and into the crowd.

Stuart Braithwaite gets the business of singing done spritely in the first few songs (Cody & Ritchie Sacramento), and whilst not one of the two, Dry Fantasy’s science fiction psychedelic intro is an absolute blaster with the two guitars in unison (Stuart Braithwaite and Alex Mackay) lifting the room, to then be hyperdriven when Rano Pano erupts offstage.

About five or six songs in, it dawns on me that Maria Sappho keyboard mahi is so penetrating throughout these songs alongside Dominic Aitchison bass playing and Martin Bulloch’s (krautrock) drumming. Mogwai are creating orchestral and harmonic emotional roller coasters, that feature extenuating pauses, gentle slowdowns and faux anticipations. 

Dominic Aitchison (bass) is a stolid (it is a word I checked) figure with his fisherman friend’s beard, rarely wavering from his stage spot, the one time being to accompany on keyboards, the beard is impressive, though not as impressive as his bass playing capabilities. While Alex Mackay darts between keyboards and guitar, later in the night mainly guitar, amazing guitar manipulation.


Mogwai can be and are gentle many times, mid-song, and many times the crowd are lulled before a crescendo of sonic boom overwhelms, engulfing all. It is this ebbing and froing that defines the Mogwai live experience. I suspect Stuart Braithwaite and others craft their live setlist as strategically as they do their compositions, for as the show lengthens, it is more drums, bass, guitar, guitar that dominates, and it gets louder and louder, the band’s reputation is deserved.

Remurdered! Yes! From 2014’s Rave Tapes, pulls me down to the floor, the album that pulled me back to the band. Six minutes of escapism, only blurred by the woman in front of me constantly waving her elbows around as she paws her hair, I avoid being a grumpy old man (which I likely am) and just push forward, in front. The keyboard and bass unison take me back to my happy place as they once again build to an ascension.

Stuart Braithwaite isn’t a gobbler, a chatter, but we are aware it is the last show of the tour, it’s been nine years since the last time (eight actually) and it’s a Friday night (time is lost on tour). 

As the night slips away, Mogwai reemerges for two more, a perfect way to say goodbye to Aotearoa, in a very Mogwai way of gentle pervasiveness and disjointed heavy post-punk – reimagined.

Simon Coffey


Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Ivan Karczewski:



Mogwai Setlist:

To the Bin My Friend, Tonight We Vacate Earth

Kids Will Be Skeletons


Ritchie Sacramento

Dry Fantasy

Rano Pano


Hunted by a Freak

Drive the Nail

I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead


Mogwai Fear Satan



Old Poisons