it was the most emotionally dramatic day of my life. i lived in chapel hill, nc at the time, which is 4 hours away from asheville, where i now am a sophomore at unc-asheville. i saw mogwai for the first time and only time to date at this show, and the flood of sound rained like a divine force from another universe.
i was going to see them the night prior at the cats cradle, which is much smaller and louder than the orange peel. i say this now: never go to the orange peel unless it's for a band you really love. their staff are total dickheads - high maintenance security men who are fascists. it is really expensive, the atmosphere blows (asheville is a very hippie area, full of jam bands and world beat groove shit), and they search your cigarette cases because they think everyone's a mindless drug addict.
anyways, i could not see mogwai, who was now my favorite band of all times, in my hometown favorite venue which really sucks because the cradle setlist is damn amazing with the sequence of ratts, helicon 1, 2 rights, and we're no here. oh well. i had to miss that show because my grandma died and her funeral was that day, but i caught mogwai the following day at the orange peel and felt a rebirth inside.
i had been listening to all of mogwai's records for a long time. i got into them just after they played the cradle in 2003, so the anticipation was heavy. while there were some songs i wished they had played, this show probably had a more profound influence on my life than anything else i have ever experienced. i wanted to cry the whole time, it was just so gorgeous. too bad the orange peel has a really high ceiling and sound doesn't sound nearly as bombastic as inside the cradle. here's the breakdown:
"auto rock" was a real treat. they only played it about 20% of the time in 2006, and the mix is much better live, more rockin' than the cinematic album version. the electronic loops resonated amazingly with stuart's distorted lead part. i had never seen a real noise/post-rock/shoegaze show, and this opening was so epic, so intense, my whole body felt magical. "hunted" was a really good song 2 - as most people screamed uncontrollably during the intro part. ashevillian post-rockers are really appreciative and happy when favorites like mogwai and explosions in the sky come to town for the first time! "ithica" was the loudest part of the main set - blinding volume and heaviness.
the band seemed to be out-of-tune with the orange peel, and i can't blame 'em because the sound is just not the best for mogwai's set up, and some technical difficulties happened with barry's effects board during "travel". he exclaimed angrily, "it's not our fault. all our shit works!" as his power sources all blew out.
the sound problems were instantly made up for with the intro drone of "long way." wow what a great song! i was so happy to hear something from young team. next came a brilliant sequence of "friend","ratts", and "folk death 95." they were on fire during ratts, where they really churned out some fucking awesome noise with their memory man pedals and biting tremelos.
"stanley kubrick" blew the album version out of the water - the keyboard jumped out like lightning during the "chorus" part. language really is not required to describe helicon 1 and we're no here. looking back, they were probably even louder than "ithica." i remember (this was almost two years ago) being shocked by the explosion that occurs in the middle of "helicon 1." "we're no here" was really long. i know they usually don't stretch it out unless it's the encore, but they made at least 8 minutes of pure, disgusting noise drones at the end of that one. mesmorizing!
i tried to email a request for "fear satan" or "herod," but i think i accidentally emailed their tour promoter or something. anyways - wish granted! i saw stuart's setlist right infront of my eyes the whole time because i was right upfront and center, and i snagged the setlist during the noisey ending of "satan."
"mogwai fear satan" was definitely the highlight of the show for me. i had just lost a family member and my girlfriend and i were about to split, and i felt such a mix of emotion during the whole week - this just stripped me to my core. i was out of my mind! i had never heard a live version of "satan," so i didn't expect the middle to be so quiet, then exploded into madness like "herod" all at once! i nearly jumped out of my skin - i had no idea what was going to happen when the drumming died down to near silence. it was a brilliant translation of an already amazing album version into a more refined and feedback-charged live version. god, i love mogwai.
i'll have to hold out for "my father my king" and "2 rights." i intend to see mogwai as many times as feasibly possible if they come to usa this spring, and their next album should signal a massive tour for late 2008/early 2009. but, i doubt they'll play "herod" much ever again, as it greatly disminished in popularity on their setlists in recent years. cheers mogwai fans!