Martin Bulloch was unable to join the North American tour for family reasons and was replaced behind the drumkit by James Hamilton (Errors)
great show last night in motown, definitely making it's way into my top 5 mogwai shows of all time. james has settled in on the kit and there wasn't any evidence of 'coaching' as witnessed at the toronto gig. i can't recall any 'errors' at all actually-ha, ha. he was very tight, especially on 'grand prix'. james' crazed grin and whirlwind arms are a complete contrast to marty's relaxed, efficient professionalism. i think his sticks actually exploded on either 'lionel richie' or 'we're no here'.
no opener for this show and although it was nice having the band go on earlier than usual which allowed us to get home before 3am for once, i would've liked to have seen errors live. is james going to be pulling double duty for the rest of the north america tour? i don't know how well attended this show was but i get the feeling that there were many in the crowd who were attending their first mogwai show. lots of chatter during the set just like the noisy crowd last time mogwai played this venue.
st. andrew's is my favourite live locale and it was a treat to see mogwai perform such a great set there. the sound was loud, not chest crushing loud but very clear and warm. the setlist started out very similar to the toronto show with 'ithica' and 'thatcher' bumping 'i know you are' and 'san pedro'. the sound really differentiated the set from the toronto show and kept it from feeling like a retread. james' improved confidence helped keep things flowing smoothly and it was hard to believe it was just his fourth show with the band.
'white noise' is a great opener and leaves no question why the band has been keeping it in that slot. dom joins john and stuart for the three guitar assault of 'rano pano' and then barry is quickly recruited for 'ithica'. the beat is kicked up a notch for 'thatcher' and 'death rays' sounds gorgeous in this old building. 'jim morrison', brings the doom and is a definite standout. 'werewolf' really is a beautiful live track and the cycling video provides a great backdrop to this upbeat gem. 'friend of the night' follows and is fine but i would be happy not hear it or 'hunted' for sometime. with the show more than half over, the band really starts to fire on another level.
the strobe lights and staccato beats of 'grand prix' threaten to turn the hall into a disco but the crowd is content to nod and bop rather than dance awkwardly. the song is nothing short of exhilarating tonight. a chair is brought onstage which was formerly a sure fire visual cue for 'helicon 1', but it is dom sitting down with guitar and stuart strapping on bass for the massive 'lionel richie'. it's awesome to see stuart holding down the bottom end of this song with another great video as backdrop. this song harkens to the darker sound of epic mogwai closer tracks and the crowd is visibly appreciative of the sonic barrage. next comes my personal fave '2 rights' which i am elated to hear (first time on the NA leg of the tour!) and it is soaring. main set is closed out with a thunderous presentation of 'we're no here' with a short distortion outro.
as the band leaves the stage to much fanfare, speculation about the encore begins. i am hoping for a three song set rather than 'MFMK' and get my wish with john joining james at the kit for the absolutely anthemic 'auto rock'. stuart then attempts to make a joke to introduce the next song but nobody in the crowd or on stage seems to be able to understand what he's grinning about (i think he was making a reference to the dry ice machine which i've never seen at a mogwai show before). 'hasenheide' again is played as an encore like in toronto and i still am perplexed how this track was relegated to b-side status (i think a 'director's cut' of HWNDBYW should be released with 'hasenheide' rightfully included on the platter, dropping 'letters to the metro' and adding a remix of 'the sun smells too loud' as a bonus track, thoughts anyone?). the band shreds through a pulverizing rendition of 'glasgow megasnake' and the metal barrier in front of the stage lurches forward in unison with the crowd's movement to the guitar licks. pure adrenaline. wow what a show. can't wait for october!