Live: Pummelling Brixton. Mogwai, O2 Academy Brixton.

There's a steady stream of bodies coursing through Brixton, in the most part flowing down from the tube station and into the sweltering monument that is indubitably the greatest venue south of the river, Brixton Academy. Having first witnessed The White Stripes from the towering balcony around a decade ago in this very same room, mentioning mobile network corporate sponsorship seems rather insolent, so we'll make as if that deal were never penned. The floor, perpetually spattered with gum and gunk looks a little worse for wear, perhaps due to a certain awards show that hijacked its pseudo-salubrious surrounds last week yet there's fervour in the air, entangled in the stench of carpets that could do with an industrial spruce. Mogwai, it seems, is a momentous occasion. Previous setlists from the current tour have included a torrent of material from latest skull-crushing LP Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will and throughout this is evidently something of an aggravation for those that elect to natter persistently amongst the ferociously headbanged heads that encircle said puritans. We hailed the record as one that may 'appreciably enhance our existence' a few weeks back so no complaints here however.

Subtly emerging from the wings amidst near-darkness led by guitarist John Cummings, it's a subdued affair for a matter of seconds, before the tidal guitars of HWND, BYW opener White Noise begin to crash and collide into one another, Stuart Braithwaite thrashing himself about as if his patriotic Telecaster's been jacked into the nucleus of the London Borough of Lambeth's electrical grid. The wallowing twinkling of I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead then seeps out from behind Barry Burns' bank of musical gadgetry that looks almost as potent as the aforementioned electrical grid, before a racy San Pedro rattles into view, twelve-string guitars adding to the frenzy of the thunderous track. By this point you sense your hearing deteriorating, your ears being shredded like bank statements and yet entranced, you edge closer to towering speaker stacks. For despite the visuals lovingly created for the band by cohorts and cronies, Mogwai aren't here for your eyeballs' delectation; they're hear to aurally lull, then lay to waste your cochlea, to which closer Batcat attests as a visceral denouement crescendo startles to the point of your skeleton wanting to rip forth from the skin that encloses blood and bones to recoil and quiver at your feet. As such a live photo accompanying this here review seemed rather superfluous. At moments feral, at others fragile, nobody quite conducts post-rock with such unadulterated vigour as the Glaswegian quintet, intermittently joined by a quite superb violinist, adding just the right amount of apocalyptic GY!BE melodrama here and there. The Celtic twang of How To Be A Werewolf is sublime as open strings cascade around a core of savage bass, and is greatly enhanced by closing seconds in which Braithwaite's guitar assimilates bagpipe-like tones, whilst Christmas Steps sounds strictly satanic, peaking and troughing in nefarious agitation. Chopping and changing instruments and guitars whimsically, Braithwaite, Burns, Cummings and Dominic Aitchison arrive with enough Fender in tow to stock Denmark Street twice over, and the tri-guitar distortion onslaught of Rano Pano goes some way to imploding sanity in a beautiful explosion of sound. A typically emotive 2 Rights Make 1 Wrong offers much required respite, whilst an optimistic rumble through Mexican Grand Prix alleviates the doomsday despondency the troupe often conjure so meticulously and magnificently and, novelly, features lyrics, albeit indecipherable of course. Exhausting in all the right ways, Mogwai tonight provided the mental and physical draining of the five thousand. Hallelujah.