bright light ! gigs

mogwai @ forum, kentish town, london 16/10/1999

set list

thanks paul mcallister

  • superheroes of bmx
  • christmas steps
  • may nothing but happiness come through your door
  • summer
  • new paths to helicon pt.2
  • small children in the background
  • stanley kubrick
  • ex-cowboy
  • christmas song
  • new paths to helicon pt.1


  • like herod

    support from ligament

    review, by paul mcallister

    we got to the forum about half an hour after the doors opened (fucking trains) but still managed to get to the very front. most of the people who were already in there were upstairs in the sitting bit and there werent that many people downstairs. the place filled pretty quickly after that, it was a complete sell out and there had been loads of people asking for tickets outside. the dj sort of played off and on for about an hour and then ligament came on. throughout their set, stuart sat at the side of the stage giving encouragement, waving at the crowd and generally enjoying himself. the stage was similar to the glastonbury set - the screens with mogwai guitars left and right (but no drums, bass or barry this time). there were also those rotating glass balls that i cant remember the name of.

    mogwai came on about 8:45 which was a lot earlier than i expected. martin was wearing a celtic shirt and only stuart seemed to be kappa clad. the drum beat of superheroes started as they walked on the stage and the started to play. im not sure if they've got the robocop back that was nicked from brighton but the whirring noise it makes was there. the lead guitar was a bit quiet but overall very good. next up was xmas steps (which is quickly becoming my favourite live song) which was typically brilliant. they had a violinist (not luke sutherland) which you could actually hear (unlike at glastonbury). some tossers started talking about 5 mins before it ended and continued to talk all the way through may nothing but happiness come through your door which really pissed me and everyone standing near me off. in the end one bloke started shouting stuff at stuart, ranging from 'beautiful man' to 'och aye me noo' and other bollocks which seemed to piss stuart off a bit and he mouthed shut the fuck up to him. the bloke spoilt what was one of the best songs - a perfect performance with beautiful lighting which just seemed to go on forever. summer was superb, as always, and martin seems to get faster and faster the more times i see him play it. helicon 2 was brilliant, of course, and then stanley kubrick which was fairly well received. most people seemed to not have heard it before. next was ex-cowboy which was just unbelievable. one of the highlights of the gig. wave after wave of noise which just takes your breath away.

    the tossers behind me hadnt stopped talking and by this point stuart was getting pretty pissed with them. he introduced christmas song as: 'a new song off the EP which is released on monday. its really quiet, so can you all keep the noise down or it'll spoilt it' which was aimed at these blokes near me.

    this was the first time id heard christmas song. difficult to describe, it was quiet, like helicon 2 and stanley kubrick but still very different. then the moment we'd all really been waiting for, helicon 1. it was perfect (and louder than usual). nothing in the world can compare with those few seconds of silence before it takes off.

    then to finish off as always was like herod. they managed to get the intensity of sound even more extreme than in any of the others and it was just sheer sonic bombardment. the synchronised turning round and stamping on pedals was brilliant.

    they duly left the stage to waves and waves of feedback. the crowd stayed around for ages hoping for an encore. it didnt happen but i managed to get one of the crew to get me the setlist (*again*, i'll put it up next to the glastonbury one i think :)

    so overall, a fantastic gig, spoiled slightly by tossers in the crowd, but generally excellent. not quite the same atmosphere as glastonbury or even the astoria though, which was surprising. anyone who hasnt seem them must go, its a life changing experience :)

    thanks for the review, paul!

    review from the 'the independent' newspaper

    thanks to pete for scanning this review in. not the best quality scan unfortunately. click on the image for a larger version.

    review by ben myers of 'kerrang!' magazine, issue 774, 30/10/99

    fresh from a us tour, the glasgow five-piece hit their career peak

    ladies and gentlemen, this is your final warning. would all passengers not intending to take this musical journey into the future please leave now. and do not forget to take your old rock'n'roll baggage with you.

    tonight, during their biggest headline show to date, mogwai subvert rock music on a number of different levels, and after four years of experimentation hit upon a sound that is completely unique. first off, stuart braithwaite and his young glasgow crew are not the first band to tackle what is ridiculously and clinically termed 'post-rock', they are certainly the most successful, with 2,000 stupefied fans of all ages, shapes and sizes hanging onto every single deafening note.

    appearing at the un-hip time of 8.40pm, mogwai go on to break every rule in the book. songs no longer need words, let alone choruses. delicate melodies are allowed to linger for 10 minutes - witness set opener 'superheroes of bmx'. head-f**k slabs of screaming noise are squeezed out for even longer. good lord, we'll even let them away with their clapton-style stools and flute solos, the little tinkers.

    it's no overstatement to say that tonight, in these corporate times, mogwai are close to revolutionary. with a strobe light overdose, and guitars that rattle your organs, the likes of 'helicon 2' and 'stanley kubrick' demand total attention, each taking you off into darker head-spaces. there's no time for idle chat or beer-swigging either on the stage or in the audience. and it's quite conceivable that, if it were left for any longer, the bass-heavy ending of 'like herod' could cause serious mental damage. comparisons to everyone from dj shadow to led zeppelin, slint and stoner rock bear their heads, but the overall effect of these black metal aficionados is like no other. suddenly, conventional music with it's solos and stage moves seems almost redundant.

    cocky f**kers that they are, mogwai are going to be one of the most important and influential bands of the next decade. and that's a warning.

    kkkkk 5/5

    [picture: cool double-exposed photo of stuart with blue tele with the caption: "mogwai : is this man the future of rock?"]

    thanks to niall for typing this up for us.

    review by peter robinson from 'melody maker', issue 47 vol 6, 27/10/99

    got your 'tune!' sign? ok, so it might not be on everybody's mogwai checklist, and this might seem a million miles away from the sweaty cattlesheds of ibiza, but really, apart from a few more beards turning up in kentish town, it's not that different. same lengthy breakdowns and build-ups; same facelessness, same intensely stimulated hands-in-the-air yelling from the crowd when the tune kicks in; same lack of need for drugs in order to feel absolute and utter euphoria; same lack of vocals saying more than words ever could.

    and what would a mogwai song sound like with stuart warbling instead of twanging? well, it'd sound like whoever's posing the question is totally missing the point. when the glitterballs sparkle mauve and green like the favourite quality street colours of anyone in their right mind, and "summer" glides through the air like joy division realising things were actually gloomier than they'd initially thought, you know exactly what mogwai were up to. even if - when we're politely asked not to scream in case they forget how to do "christmas song"- they're not always sure.

    screaming or no screaming, it's the audience that make tonight so special: a fact clearly acknowledged by the band in their "mogwai guitars left" and "mogwai guitars right" screen projections which flank the stage from the audience's perspective rather than conforming to the theatrically self-indulgent reading of stage right and stage left being from the performer's point of view.

    indeed the only shit bit tonight is "helicon 1", which plods and grimaces into mogwai-by-numbers oblivion and prompts the ridiculous scent of, ahem, herbal cigarettes to permeate the air but, thoughtful as ever, mogwai are flogging earplugs on their merchandise stall.

    they finally shut down with "like herod", an absolute sprawling monster of a f***ed-up, hellraising sonic death threat which winds and crashes on for ages before spinning off its own axis and blipping into nothingness like the sound of robocop being shut sown.

    mogwai are - as the boys jumping on each other's shoulders at the back, clearly under the impression that they actually are at manumission, might say - large.

    4 out of 5

    [picture: stuart in black, shortsleeved shirt holding yellow sg-style guitar behind his back with the caption: "stuart braithwaite: 'i bet graham coxon can't do this!'"]

    thanks again to niall for typing this up for us.

    review by maddy costa from 'the guardian', 20/10/99

    a load of mirror balls
    rating: **

    mogwai will never win any prizes for modesty. some self-belief is essential if you're going to make music, but the scottish quintet ooze obnoxious confidence. without some attitude, the band would sink into the quagmire of characterless pop they despise. but they put themselves forward as the apotheosis of punk, and don't have the music to back up the claim.

    this year's highly rated album, come on die young, testifies to mogwai's ability to make beautiful music that is tender and melancholy, yet assaults listeners with its metal-inspired dynamics. but there's nothing unusual in what they do: at all times their myriad influences - of which my bloody valentine, slint, co-deine and black sabbath are a fraction - gleam through.

    there's also nothing very complicated: their instrumentals are moving simply because most are in a minor key. rhythmically, mogwai cling rigidly to the classic four-four timing, something that few of today's truly exciting bands stick to. played live, their music is unsatisfyingly obvious. stripped of the grace afforded by dave fridmann's production, the compositions from cody were reduced to repetitive exercises in aural violence alternating with quiet sections of pretty guitar work, which burred and grunted unappealingly through the harassed amplifiers.

    the lighting show was initially stunning, the boys shrouded in darkness while two spinning mirror balls reflected a flurry of light like a snowstorm. it's a breathtaking effect but it happened so often it threatened to become as dull as the caterwauling guitar it invariably accompanied.

    mogwai's lack of variety is bearable; their arrogance isn't. before playing the new christmas song, stuart braithwaite moodily told the audience to stop screaming so the band could remember the notes, which would have been a reasonable request if the tune was at all tricky. the closing number, like herod, extended to 15 minutes, the second half of which was a mess of squalling feedback and strobe lights. it looked like the world was spinning, it sounded like armageddon, but at heart it was a cliche.

    admittedly, most of the crowd lapped it up. but (like mogwai) i've been raised on rodan, don caballero and truman's water, and (unlike mogwai) i know that anything mogwai do, their barely known contemporaries geiger counter, american heritage and monsoon bassoon do with a lot more individuality and complexity. these challenging bands have an unconventional fire that the popular mogwai can't match, for all their swagger.

    rob dillam's tour diary, first published on mogwai's official website

    at 3.00ish i'm about ready to hit the road. drive to london (m1 to kentish town) to the forum for mogwai... get there pretty easily and park the car around the back and get in to listen to them soundchecking with helicon and stuff like that.

    i walk in and head over to the sound desk and catch micks eye and he calls me into the sound desk bit. pass by the d.j who i recognise as keith cameron, nme journalist. put my bag to one side and head up onto the stage to see the guys. park the rickenbacker around somewhere safe by the side of the stage and see mick for a bit longer.

    they soundcheck for a while and then it's upstairs and stuff and i see simon as well and say hello briefly as he's on the phone. head out for some food with dom and stuart, find a nearby cafe and get an omelette and chips and a drink (they have breakfasts). sit and chat about music and stuff and stuart asks me if i've been buying records and stuff recently. chat some more and i say about hearing the new single promo and stuff and how about i've said it before but i'll say it again mogwai are my favourite band... i say about getting jon (a friend of mine) into them as well, stuff like that.

    eat and head back to the venue. there's a guy waiting outside and it's like about 5.00 by now and he comes up to the band to kinda say hello, then goes back to waiting for the doors to open in a few hours. and everyone is staying around for a while, so... introduce myself to keith cameron, who's on the tour as the d.j and he turns into a cool dude. i say that i was in adorable and that i know mogwai through mick and michael and all that.

    colin is there and say hello to him and watch ligament soundcheck for a while and stuff, sit upstairs again, relax... kim is there with martin and there are a few new faces as well, ailish (a friend of kims) and there's valerie doing the t shirts as well. colin comes in with the new t shirt design for the new single. it was supposed to say mogwai on the back but because of a misunderstanding at the t shirt producers, there's scrawl where mogwai should be because when colin faxed the design he'd written notes and corrections on the sheet saying put mogwai here, except they just copied the sheet without reading it. and the guys liked the new design!

    so that was that and the new shirts (new single cover) don't say the band name, but the tour dates are on it, so... sit in the other dressing room for a bit and john has his black guitar there (one of them) and he, i and mick play it for a while. the guys have to do an interview for kerrang! and they're in the dressing room being asked questions in a quiz form about rock and halloween. they do okay, john gets a classic right answer with the answer being helloeen and the question was who had an l.p with this title etc. funny. then they had their picture taken.

    after a while there's sitting in the quieter second dressing room and stuff and the doors open at about 6.45 / 7.00ish. at about this time i go w/ mick to meet some friends at a near by pub. meet joe, and spot kevin shields in the pub as well. stay there for a bit and soon after mick and i head back to the venue and mick griffiths is there and i say hello to him etc, there's general dressing room stuff, dom listening to heavy metal and him and ali talking about it.

    the guys catch a bit of ligament as well, i missed them because i was in the pub w/ mick. anyway, either way pretty soon though it's time for the gig. finally i can get to watch them. and they got new stuff, stuart got a tremolo and a wah or something and dom got a boss bass synthesiser and jon got a u-tron (?) some kind of frequency analyser or something like that...) anyway i go get a space for the gig.

    watch from the right side kinda by the steps and they were cool, it was packed and stuff and the set was like erm bma, ithica, xmas steps, xmas song, stanley kubrick, helicon 2, maybe rage man and mogwai fear satan and last like herod. the sound / lights (oh yeah, lights guy is paddy) were excellent.

    loads of strobes and scan lights and the white backdrop, the screens and the mirror balls. cool. afterwards in the d room there's general chilling and mick griffiths saying about how good it was, in his usual way!

    there's a load of people outside so jon and barry go to see them. chill in the other quieter dressing room with stuart and keith and barry for a while. the after show bar upstairs thing, go up there w/ stuart, he finds his sister and i join them for a while. see chris and i chat to them and say i'll go find mick. find mick and tell him and he says he'll go up and meet them later.

    back in the dressing room i chill around (this is when i was talking with keith and stuart) dom and ellie run in shouting at each other, i think she's chasing him. he defends himself with a table. anyway, also sit w/ keith and stuart / barry and stuff, say about adorable and tell keith the history of the band. head back upstairs after a while and people are just around. ali is sitting nearby. we stay around for a while and the venue (that is now an 80's music night club) is in full swing. i saw a few people dancing around but chose to avoid it myself (man, wham! suck the dogs arse. why do they never play the smiths at 80's disco's? it's like the 18th birthday disco's you had at school. very poor).

    after a while it's time to go. i get the car out to the car park and find that my car is blocked in. get a bit wound up but the car park dude is really cool about it and says don't get all stressed, man. so i chill out and wait. he gets the various security people out to systematically move the cars. i get out of the car park and follow the bus (jump every red light) back to the columbia hotel.

    park my stuff in simon's room and then later transfer it to mick's room (sharing w/ t shirt valerie as well) and ali (who's bed i've nabbed) is going in w/ simon, i think. something like that. hit the bar. drink beers. sleep eventually.