live debut for 'the precipice', 'i love you etc', 'jim morrison', 'thank you s.e.', 'batcat', 'scotland's shame'
firstly, i'd like to mention how incredible the crowd were certainly around me anyway: attentive throughout a set full of new material, after a day full of drinking and several other fine performances.
- the show -
as the band took to the stage after eleven, they kicked into the first new song, a chugging, grinding building guitar based work. it managed the impressive feat of sounding quite intense and foreboding, without getting particularly loud by mogwai's standards, setting the tone for the rest of the night. next was into the into the crowd-friendly fan-favourite "friend of the night" off their last lp. next into another new one, another brooding, dark chugging monster that picked up the sound levels. "hunted" and a splitting performance of "ithica" followed.
emphasis on new material continued unabased, with another couple of new-ies back to back - "jim morrison" which i can't remember that much about, except it was a bit of a slower number then the rest of the new ones, and then "thank you s.e.". this was a beautiful new compostion, and for me one of the most immediate and highlights of the night. a grand song, in the "tracy" scheme of things, but so much more accomplished and full-song like, if you catch my meaning. the band were clearly having a good time, focussed and intense, and keen to get the new material out there, with a few knowing smiles at these live debuts. after this, "like herod". bloody hell - brutal and immense, and great sounding.
directly following this was another rock-action heavy new song, with scuzzed out guitars and pounding bass. (this apparently wasn't on the setlist?) after this came "our new single batcat", a pretty noisy and dissonant tune! certainly look forward to hearing that one on the top 40. [it appears that these two sections are both part of 'batcat' - rob]
yet another new one finished off the main bulk of the set, a dissonant, (slightly) more reflective number entitled "scotland's shame". to close the evening came one patch of a lighter side of mogwai, "two rights", which has matured to take on a life of its own in the live setting since its "rock action" inception. spectacular. a special note to barry at this point for his sweet keyboard wig-out, which kept the rest of the band amused. it sounded great, if a little funny to hear such soloing action on a mogwai song. also, amusingly as the song crescendo-ed, i had the sight of all my neighbouring bystanders and friends with fingers in their ears as bass saturated the song and arena. wear earplugs, folks! to finish the evening, following acknowledgments of the fine day and performances from all the other bands from stuart, came a great performance of "we're no here" from "mr beast", which if you know this song, was the perfect end to the tone of the gig and performance - uncompromising and in your face sound.
to conclude, a one hour and 25 minute debut performance of 2008, with over half the set comprising of brand-spanking new material. this was not the euphoric, up-lifting mogwai of some songs - this was the dark, bloody sound of getting kicked in the face in a dark alley by a band with fresh material and the message that they are here to deliver it.
photo by james good.