thanks to mark palmer for this - content is correct but the order may not be - can anyone confirm this?
from geoff bryant:
just wanted to say that last nights show @ irving was sensational.... my first time experiencing mogwai live (my friend celsea who accompanied me, her first time experiencing them at all)... i'm not going to go in depth about song titles, times, etc; but know this.... wow... blew my jaded ass away.... and the nice little feedback party at the end was more than worth the price of the ticket..... the opening band was abysmal, but i think everyone was too excited about seeing 'gwai to really care....
and from mark palmer:
everyone except stuart wore scottish guitar army shirts. he wore it just for the encore. otherwise, he was naked. i cannot provide a review because i feel that language will not do the music justice. although, i must say that 'my father, my kingdom' was one of the most phenomenal, monumental and breathtaking displays of emotion i have ever witnessed. someone explained to me their theory about mogwai's arrangement of the song; it might represent the holocaust and the ending portrays the suffering of the people who went through that ordeal. john is a genius and created the most horrible/incredible sounds. oh yeah.. during the boston show, after take me somewhere nice, stuart played the theme song to "gremlins". it was short but really funny. i can't wait for may.
and from timothy connors:
i may be mistaken, but i believe stuart began playing guns n' roses 'don't cry' for a very brief moment (at most 5 seconds) after tuning his guitar after they played 'you don't know jesus'.
mogwai - kings of new york
post-rockin' in the free world!
mogwai wrapped their us tour with a blistering sold-out show at new york irving plaza last night (march 28). the hour-and-a-half set featured most of their third album 'rock action', which comes out in the states on april 24. frontman stuart braithwaite braved vocals only twice during the gig, which was played before an adulating crowd that shouted recognition a few notes into each song's opening riff. the finely tuned set swung back and forth between sparse melody lines and intense layers of sound.
commenting on how napster has affected the music industry, braithwaite pointed to the vip section of the balcony and joked that matador records executive chris lombardi "lives on the street... if you see a particularly shady-looking man, give him a quarter, because he often doesn't have enough to eat".
set highlights included 'helicon 1', 'christmas song' and 'you don't know jesus'. acknowledging the end of the eight-city us tour, which kicked off at the southbysouthwest festival in austin tx, braithwaite finished the night with a 10-minute-plus rendition of 'jewish hymn', a riveting rock dirge built on the melody of traditional hebrew prayer 'avenu malchanu'. the song, set and tour concluded with two minutes of feedback blaring over an empty stage.
formed in glasgow in '96 with the intent of starting a "serious guitar band", mogwai have quickly shot to the top of the international underground music scene with a cosmic sound that is at once strikingly beautiful and brutal. with three full-length albums and a couple world tours (they really are big in japan) they've dedicated their lives to spreading the gospel through puritan instrumental rock. whether you subscribe to their brand or not, it's difficult to ignore their inevitable effect on music as we know it. a soundtrack to the post-millennium blues, mogwai's formula is simple: take a simple melody (lullaby) and bury it beneath thick wool noise (nightmare). the listener is challenged to extract the original essence/patience is rewarded. unlike similar bands god speed you black emperor and sigur ros, mogwai never cross the line into the overly operatic, maintaining integrity in intention.
i attended their recent show at irving plaza, a long time listener intrigued by witness' reports. fans around the world bootleg and catalog these mythic performances. truly a band that is meant to be heard live, their studio albums are but failed attempts to capture the elusive beast. i napped the entire new album, rock action before the show their most compact and friendly album to date, it'll make new fans and keep the old
opening the show with sine waves, the first track off rock action: a lone organ moans, a rippling guitar rises, the skittering of a drum machine. dynamic stuttering tension/an exhilarating suggestion. slowly building for a period of time (the lights are blue) your eyes roll back into your head, then a sudden change in air pressure, tidal waves of soft sonic thunder wash over your mind (the lights are red now). all six musicians on stage (three guitarists, a bassist, a drummer, and a guest violinist) combine to form mogwai.
from the sounding of the first note, the crowd is cradled in mogwai's warm womb of sound. for the next hour and a half the room trembled as onlookers gasped at olympic feats of guitardom. the setlist was nourishing. fan faves helicon 1, stanley kubrick, and chocky were executed, while choice cuts from the new album were unveiled in you don't know jesus and 2 rights make a wrong. the new material settled nicely into the mogwai catalog: more refined songs that combine the angst of young team with the minor musings of cody. every song was followed by gracious applause, hollering seemed inappropriate.
for an encore they played my father/my kingdom, a middle eastern riff built upon, deconstructed, then accelerated in typical mogwai fashion. eventually wearing itself out, mogwai left the stage, guitars feeding back, testing the faith of their followers. an exodus ensued as terrified onlookers fled to the exits. wincing in pain i felt like i was the recipient of some great, but ultimately elusive, wisdom.
what's fascinating about mogwai is that they seem to be just a bunch of normal guys randomly chosen by the divine powers that be to give the populous a message of redemption. hearing their music, one would expect them to be parable-speaking vegans who wear matching labcoats, but they're not. they drink lots of beer and listen to black metal and like to cuss. their aggressive beauty is punk, rebellious, and contemporary, defining their place in music history with such distinctness that copycats haven't even bothered.