bright light ! gigs

mogwai @ fillmore, san francisco, ca 09/06/2001

poster by scott johnson


  • sinewave (with martin luther king sample)
  • mogwai fear satan
  • d to e
  • ithica 27o9
  • cody
  • like herod
  • you don't know jesus
  • 2 rights make 1 wrong
  • helicon 1


  • christmas song
  • jewish hymn

    thanks to matthew morrow, tyler chamberlain, robert scott, and richard.

    support from bardo pond

    mogwai also joined bardo pond at the end of their support set to jam on 'tommy gun angel'.


    misc info.

    we received some strange reports concerning an incident near the end of the show.

    first up was john embow:

    the end of the show was bizarre -

    in midst of final jam - [stuart] is down on one knee - i think tweaking out peddles (couldn't see). any way, he's looking in at row 10 (?) of the crowd (i'm back around 35-40) and gets an annoyed look on his face, progressively getting more annoyed and shaking his head - stands up and starts pointing and looks pissed off. there's no fight - doesn't look like anything was thrown - but someone is getting passively escorted out through the crowd. he's jumping up and this point - walking parallel with the stage - and once he gets to the side jumps off into the crowd - show ends. most bizarre thing i've seen in my life.

    jeff also had a similar story to tell:

    there was a small skirmish at the fillmore in san francisco. during the jewish hymn encore, stuart pointed towards my direction, i turned around just as a few people dashed right behind me and over towards the edge of the stage. stuart went into the crowd to intervene and started saying something to a security guard that was involved, i didn't see stuart fighting or anything, i guess he saw some kid getting roughed up by security and stepped in, but i can only speculate. good for him. the lil guy made me proud. otherwise the show was great.

    further comment from matthew:

    i was about 15 rows back & when i look back i'm not really sure whether or not stuart was pissed at the event staff for roughing up this guy or pissed at the guy for doing something to him. anyway the coolest part about it is that while all this is going on, john's still wailing away on his guitar & ripping out the strings with the white wall of noise still going on. then martin starts pushing over all his drums and then everyone left the stage pretty soon to a huge ovation despite the incident.

    an anonymous contributor:

    i asked stuart what happened and he said that some guy took the setlist (which was fine) but then someone else in the audience started fighting with him & so that pissed stuart off. it really wasn't that big of a deal, but it did seem quite dramatic! i was at the front trying to see what was happening and then when i looked up again, dominic was gone too! but he just had left stage.

    and from a useful vantage point, tarail matei:

    for anyone who was there and/or interested, here's what happened at the fillmore mogwai show. i was on the left side of the fillmore's balcony, right above where it happened, so i saw the entire thing as it unfolded.

    some guy wormed his way through about 10 "rows" of people until he was right in front of the stage. he reached onto the stage and took mogwai's setlist, which they had no problem with. he returned to where he had been, getting some sour looks from the people he had just pushed through. a security guard, for some unknown reason, decided this was grounds for being chucked from the venue, and proceeded to try to lead him out the back door on the side of the stage. the guy raised a bit of a stink with pissed off gestures (this is the point where most people in the audience started looking over at him as they could see something "wierd" was happening), though it was nowhere close to punches being thrown. mogwai's singer/guitarist, who had seen him take the list, put two and two together when he saw the security guard holding the kid, so he jumped down into the crowd and basically pried the security guards hands away from the guy, who took it as a cue to melt back into the crowd. that was it...

    thanks folks!


    from roger taylor:

    turn on every appliance in your kitchen, tune your televisions and radios to static, run your vacuum cleaner, play an early sabbath lp at low volume in the background, hold two phone receivers up to your ears, and do a sean connery impersonation with marbles in your mouth. that's what the show sounded like to me.

    but that's a good thing.

    from bob:

    most of the audience had their hands over their ears! the band seemed to keep the volume down until the encore - definitely quieter than shepherd's bush empire (i live in england, in sf for a holiday)

    from brian c at

    sickbadthing, thoa, anna, shawn, and myself took the bus down to the fillmore around 8:45. the fillmore is a beautiful venue, with high ceilings, chandelliers, and a great stage, with a balcony surrounding on two sides. i had been excited to see this show for weeks prior, so being there was really surreal. we didn't waste any time outside looking at merchandise, and went straight to the bar for some beers. minutes after arriving, bardo pond began their set. i've never seen them before, and i was quite pleased with their performace. i think i fell in love with the lead singer, as she is just amazingly sexy. her voice reminded me of a cross between hope sandoval and the chick from the cowboy junkies. very laid back, smooth groovy stuff that got loud at all the right parts. a huge standout (of the entire night) was when bardo introduced mogwai onto the stage, and they both jammed on "LB". the chemistry between the bands was amazing. they were all smiling, and jumping around while the lights glowed a bright yellow. i don't think i was the only one smiling in the crowd. i'd like to find out a setlist of the songs bardo did, and catch up on some stuff i don't own of them. it seemed like a short set. maybe 5-6 songs.

    after about a half hour break, mogwai take the stage while martin luther king and iggy pop share the same PA for 'punk rock'. stuart looks like he's lost quite a bit of weight, and is looking lean and fierce. lots of eye contact was made between the audience and stuart as he scanned the crowd periodically. the rest of the band seemed a bit more timid, at times all of them facing away from the crowd. it turned out to be a very angst ridden set, the band seemed to feed off of the crowds excitment for noise. only one song was done with vocals, 'cody', and was one of the only sombre moments that night. stuart's voice never sounded better i don't think. barry snuck out up front for some flute on 'fear satan' and martin snuck out for some keyboard/drum machine manipulation during '2 rights make one wrong'. '2 rights..' was another highlight, the crowd all nodding along happily. john, the guitarist seemed to experience feedback dementia during 'xmas steps'.. after ripping off every guitar string on this one, he walked right into the amp stack with his guitar, nearly knocking it over. he seemed quite taken aback, looking bewildered and confused while the rest of the band looked over and smirked. it was a moment that is only better when you are there to witness it.

    for the encore 'my father, my kingdom' (a killer that leaves everyone in the crowd obliterated) things got interesting. i've read about incidents of violence happening at other shows during this song, and i thought it was only fitting something strange happened at this one. the volume soars, people hold their ears, and others just simply drool (like myself). when things started to wind down into a wall of feedback, it appeared that someone up right in front of stuart attempted to either take or manipulate his guitar pedal. i remember seeing the kid and his girlfriend earlier, as they both bolted from the back of the venue through the crowd knocking everyone in the way on the way to the front of the stage. i hope the fuck got his ass kicked later for it. the girl accompanying the twat was a keeper too, rocking out poison style during a few songs that got a few strange looks and smirks of annoyance from stuart. anyway, on with the story... the kid does his thing up front while stuart is busy milking as much noise out of his setup as possible. stuart yells at the kid, and then it quickly escalates. either someone on security, or a fan grabs the twit and drags him by the heels of his feet to the side of the venue. stuart is looking really pissed off at something, and makes a leap off of sidestage to follow the little whirlwind of activity. the band keep playing, but all looking a little worried. things calm down a bit, and everyone fixates attention back at the stage... the band leaves stage one by one leaving only john. he looks a bit pissed off, ripping each string off his guitar again and wrapping then making a little tent out of two guitars and wrapping them in the wire. he turns around and twiddles some knobs for a few more minutes. the noise keeps coming and all i can do is look in awe and smile at the chaos of it all. all things end when john has left the stage to leave things roaring for a bit and the roadies come out and switch off the amps in unison.

    a few copies of the bardo/mogwai 10" were handed out to some kids in the front, which appeared to start a little tug of war match. come on kids, you could have bought it for 6 bucks and not had a bent copy. f***ers. anyway... i was worried i wasn't going to get one of the rare pressings of this single, so i went back to the merch booth once the crowd cleared. there were none left on the table, but i asked the woman there and she had another whole box of 50. i bought two of the eps and the effects peddle t-shirt. i was a happy little boy.

    the fillmore staff were also taking down all the bill graham promo posters for the show and handing them out. i didn't get one inside the venue, but once i got outside i noticed that about 20 homeless men and women all posessed one and were feeling a little cocky about it knowing they could get money from them... i managed to find a nice blabbering fellow outside by the bus stop who i bartered with for a few minutes until we came to a $3.00 agreement. the poster is in great shape, and i plan on getting it framed.

    this was one of the best shows i've ever seen before. my ears and head were ringing for hours afterwards. i wanted more. it was a pretty short set, and they didn't play everything i expected them to, but i think that was partly because the set must have been impovised. i can't wait to see them again and to possibly meet up with them for a little discussion of video shooting. one of the greatest nights of my life so far.

    from tyler chamberlain:

    my rambling, in combination with other accounts, may provide a clear picture of the show? it really did turn a little surreal near the end though........strange strange.

    ok, well, as expected my head hurts something awful. i think there's a worm in there. it's telling me to be stupid and type badly. disclaimer over, here come the random thoughts. i liked bardo. probably because the singer is one of the sexiest women around. i was outside half of the time though, trying to sell an extra ticket for a friend who couldn't come. ended up just giving it to a poor, poor soul (*codyfunk pats himself on the back*). show was incredible, second time i've seen them. of all the live recordings, videos, and the previous concert i attended, this seemed to be a very angst-ridden show. but in a good way. they only did one song with vocals (cody - by far the best, most delicate version i've yet heard), and the rest was basically a trip through a wall of noise. no strings, there was flute on satan, but barry stuck to the guitar and drum machine for the rest of it. i was happy to see the band completely into the concert, into their songs, almost as if they had just written the songs and were excited to play them. i've seen comments on this board previously where people were concerned about their constant need to end the show with feedback. it was not different this time, trust me, but this time it really worked -- they were doing some interesting manipulations with the feedback, which came across as near improvisations (jam band anyone? just kidding).

    during the last number before the encore, the guitarist (whose name i can't recall - see worm disclaimer above) got really pissed at something, threw his guitar down and walked off the stage. i was happy to see the rest of the band not miss a beat, as they sometimes sort of fall apart a little if something wierd happens (that's my feeling anyway). the drummer now has a mohawk. some jerkass in the crowd kept yelling out stupid shit, thinking he was funny. he shut up though after about three songs. apparently his date was not impressed at his wit or something. during the final song of the encore (my father my kingdom), about fifteen minutes into it, stuart got pissed off at someone in the crowd (i'm guessing), ran over to the other side of the stage, and jumped off into the crowd. it was a nice leap, good distance. i didn't see exactly what happened, but i was close enough to see some scuffling and stuff. the same guitarist (is it john? my computer's too slow to go to another damn website and doublecheck) who left the stage earlier, was the only one on stage for seriously the last ten minutes of my father. he seemed a little disturbed about something as he tweaked everything in sight. but again, for some reason it worked. maybe they're just getting better at the feedback thing. at some point (not sure how i missed all this!), every guitar had been partially destroyed by (let's just call him) john, and the entire drumkit was laying in ruins.

    so, in conclusion - i'd say that, even for mogwai's standards, it was a show full of their loud stuff. except the third song (d to e? haven't yet listened to my new split ep w/bardo) and cody, which were in the beginning, i swear i saw the band members constantly changing the setlist, shouting out new songs to play. i'd be interested to see if the pre-show setlist is anything like the setlist they actually played. i think they were going with the vibe of the night, way more punkrock than pretty without a doubt. if anyone else was there last night -- did you see any of the scuffling/fight/etc? it's wierd, but i don't think that stuff took anything away from the show. normally it would. but last night it worked for some reason. i think, for personal reasons, i needed them to be a little angry (am i the only one who can't read their interviews anymore because they just don't seem to take themselves seriously enough? they write insane music and should act that way more, rather than say shit like "we write a couple notes, drag it out for 15 minutes, and get away with murder" - taken from the bbc online chat a couple months ago). angry might be completely the wrong word - - maybe intensity or something is better. i needed them to play with some fucking blood and sweat, and they did. i was tired of their fresh faces, i needed some road-worn grit and attitude. you know the beatles when they were clean cut? and then, all of the sudden, they had beards, were writing trippy shit, were saying odd things about whatever? i think that's the difference i'm talking about here. they seemed last night like seasoned professionals (i hesitate using that word, but it's all i can think of right now). you know, when a band finally learns to play a concert on drugs. i'm kidding, sort of. this is, after all, san francisco. does anybody know what the f*** i'm talking about? does anyone have a better grip of the english language than i at this point?

    from j. free on the drone-on list:

    the sf show was cool enough alright, and just a week after havng seen them in mpls, it was amazing just how much sharper the dynamics were at the fillmore. the slow/quiet-loud drone thing is a fine dyamic, no matter how many times they do it, but i think it really comes down to pacing the set. placing a lot of songs with the same dynamic together will bring down the appreciation level a bit before too long, but offsetting them every other song or so seems to work fine.

    although i thought the pacing was better at the mpls show, the sf set seemed more of a calculated presentation, if not a tad quieter. i think part of this had to do with the band feeling more relaxed, because they had time to prepare themselves, and part of it had to do with acoustics. i think the fillmore is a pretty warm-sounding room, which lends itself to austere harmonics as well as a full-on chord attack, which is perfect for a band like mogwai.

    unfortunately, the show ended on an awkward note, which came about when a security person became involved in a skirmish with an audience member, a few feet back from the front of the stage. this clearly distracted stuart, who tossed down his guitar and ran out into the audience to try and stop what was happening. the rest of the group played on, but the mood had changed severely, and by the time the rest of the band left the stage in a heap of collapsed drums and shredded guitar strings, it was on a different tone than the set had begun.

    we missed about half of bardo pond's set. at least we did get to catch the amazing version of "lb" at the end, featuring members of both bands all playing together.

    from mason jones on the drone-on list:

    from what other people had said, i was expecting more repetitive quiet-loud pieces from mogwai than they actually did. however, i can see where the complaints come from. the first time in the set they suddenly kicked in from a quiet, pretty piece to the full-on 3-guitar onslaught, it was powerful and pretty cool. but they did it several more times (and played for a rather long 75-ish minutes), and it did become a bit predictable. the moments where they let the songs meander, added electronics, nice filtering on the drums, and whatnot, were my favorite parts of the set here in sf.

    frankly, though, i thought bardo pond were definitely better than mogwai. i haven't seen them since terrastock in seattle, and while that set was good, this one was better. the amount of touring they've been doing is a good thing; although sadly clint wasn't able to join them on this tour because of job inflexibility. a fellow named tracy was on bass instead, and did a fine job.

    we also got a special treat here in sf, when mogwai all joined bardo for the last song. i hope someone taped it. it was the first time on tour that they'd had time to all set up and sound check and had a stage big enough to hold them all, michael said. they all looked like they were having the time of their lives up there droning loudly for ten minutes. nice.