mogwai @ academy, dublin, ireland
small children in the background
friend of the night
scotland's shame [youtube]
travel is dangerous [youtube]
hunted by a freak [youtube]
thank you space expert
i'm jim morrison, i'm dead
killing all the flies
my father my king
sold out. support from desalvo.
from craig walker:
mogwai totally slaughtered dublin tonight!amazing!amazing!amazing!
my father my king featured barry's nintendo ds, presumably for the first time: at the very end he started patterning/looping feedback on it, which made for a more rhythmic end than usual.
the band seemed to be enjoying themselves. helped, i imagine, by one of the more appreciative crowds i've seen at a mogwai (or any other) gig in a while. i realised it was going to be a good night when the crowd was silent right to the last note of 'small children...'; hopefully this continues throughout the weekend. just before the brutalising herod/batcat set closer, stuart announced they had two songs left, only to be greeted by some grumblings from the crowd, to which he laughingly replied: "it'll be one if i hear any more action."
it'll be interesting to see how much the set differs tonight and tomorrow: hopefully we haven't heard the last ep/cody-era stuff, and presumably the likes of satan and helicon 1 will get an airing. i'll be there texting it to myself in my phone, anyway. also, for what it's worth, i think the hawk tracks really flourish live in a way some of the mr beast songs did not.
last, not least: didn't stay for the mogwai dj last night, but desalvo were good fun and i was surprise how easily the singer (sweaty, tattooed man in a pig/butcher outfit) took the crowd out of their comfort zone. looking forward to remember remember now too.
great gig, band were really up for in and enjoying themselves, stuart had plenty of banter with the crowd, especially when he asked was anyone coming to the 3 shows. had hoped to get cody, maybe next tour!
the individual members of mogwai are unremarkable figures, but when they march on and launch into the ominous opening track, guitarists stuart braithwaite, barry burns, john cummings and bassist dominic aithchison collectively look like the four axemen of the apocalypse, with drummer martin bulloch holding the percussive reigns behind them. it’s a fitting image, because this performance confirmed that if the end of days is to have a soundtrack, odds are these guys will write it – nobody crafts portentous soundscapes quite like mogwai.
the scottish five-piece are, or course, one of the most influential names in post-rock, but their longevity is down to the consistently high standard of their output for the past 12 years or so – their latest album, the hawk is howling, is as excellent as we’ve come to expect. they also seem to be growing up at last. mogwai were once famous for their ear-splittingly loud live shows, with the bass so loud you could feel your internal organs vibrate, but this performance was quieter, in terms of both decibels and audience reaction. indeed, the orange earplugs that many in the crowd sported at the start of the show were discarded as the risk of perforated eardrums failed to materialise.
this was the first of a three-night residency at the academy, but mogwai started with a vaguely funereal tone for the first half-hour or so, and with the volume down to more humane levels, it appeared for a long time to be a somewhat subdued show. but the night’s performance gradually revealed itself to be mirroring their favoured song structure, with the patient build-up accumulating measured power, before the pace quickens, and a series of mini-crescendoes leads to a quiet interlude, before the final, exultant climax leaves you exhausted and exhilarated. here, as the band left the stage after their “final” song, we had the quiet interlude, before they returned for their encore, a blistering, violent rendition of my father my king, proving that when it comes to the art of the aural crescendo, mogwai have few peers. bring on the apocalypse.
photos by alessio michelini