I really shouldn't have made this gig, as I was due to go to Taiwan on a business trip. However, my passport needed to go in for my residency permit, so I was grounded from flying. In the end, I swapped severe liver damage via triple-gambeis (beer/whisky/beer) in Taoyan for, perhaps, some ear damage in Shanghai.
Mao is absolutely packed and good to see it is not merely ex-pat city. We missed the support act, choosing to drink beer on the street- yes totally legal here..No Fuck The Curfew..which is the more civilised country; ha ha.....at 35 pence a big bottle rather than ten times the price inside.
Inside, we head upstairs and grab a swatch at the setlist, but the Perspex means no chance of a decent phoatie. Statistically, we will be 'special' tonight. More later.
Upstairs definitely not the place to hear Mogwai, especially as it has a reputation for shitty sound, so we head downstairs, near the back. Still a good view, as there are loads of 150mm locals in the crowd. White Noise opens; I guess it usually does, and both it and the sound are pretty decent. Just the drums sounding a bit muddy. Some nice panoramic footage of a road journey and a guy on a bike. Me likey.
Ithica is next; somehow this gets played most times I see Mogwai and is normal. Most of the locals go a bit mental when the bass crashes in; I get the impression they are only familiar with the more modern stuff.
By the time Werewolf is played, the drums are fixed and everything is sounding good.
You can read the setlist, so no need to describe everything. Friend Of The Night and Mogwai Fear Satan are as good as I've heard live anywhere and perhaps a slightly different ending for the latter. I get the impression that Satan wouldn't have been quite so intense in the pre-Barry days.
Lionel Ritchie sees Stuart take the bass, which I am not sure is normal or not; needless to say, everyone, band and audience are having a good time. Except, possible the European-looking female sound technician/engineer.
Batcat finishes in typically driven, intense, fashion and at the end of the set, there are 'nul points' for certain albums tonight.
After a short break, the opening notes of MFMK are started with absolutely no audience recognition whatsoever; looks like I am amongst only a few who are familiar with the song. It's a long, long time since I last saw this played live and it is beautiful. Even better that unlike the UK, the quiet bits aren't an audience chat-fest; despite the Chinese being amongst the noisiest people on the planet.
Very glad I got to the gig after all, and in summary, great to see MFMK again and as more stuff gets released, always more songs that you think should get played, but don't. Possibly the best ever gig at the new Mao, certainly sound-wise, but in truth, just another 'normal' Mogwai show. The local media will probably wank over this; but they do have a habit of wanking over third-rate Coldplay pretenders from time to time.