5 Years ago (almost exactly) I had basically no idea what I was getting into when I saw Mogwai for the first time. I went expecting something vaguely Sigur Ros like, with some occasional bits of loudness but not “noise as an instrument” sort of loud. I left the show with some semi-permanent hearing damage in one ear (I was kinda halfway pointed towards a stack fairly close to the stage) and it was the loudest thing I’d ever heard, ever. I never knew who My Bloody Valentine was and I’d never looked them up, but I got to reading some more about Mogwai and found out they were one of their big influences. MBV is well known for essentially using feedback and noise as a focus in their music, and for having the loudest possible shows at around 130dB (which is freaking amazing) and if I’d known… I’d have brought along some plugs. Now I know.
Overall, I think Mogwai is one of the most amazing bands to see live. Lots of bands have no range in their live shows, but Mogwai despite being very very loud also has very very quiet parts to a lot of their songs. They’ve also kinda got the “pay attention to the music, the band isn’t going to do anything interesting on stage” thing going on which I think a lot of bands should think about. Most of the time the lights were basically strobing on the crowd and for the most part it all made you want to just close your eyes and hang out. I’m pretty sure that’s what I did for most of the show. Incidentally, I think all the strobe lights and the loud noise and vibration have some sort of hypnotic effect that you have to experience to understand, but I had several revelations during the show. I managed to find a pair of lost sunglasses, and a lost cellphone charger that I’d misplaced (and replaced because I was so frustrated that I couldn’t find either) when something just clicked in my brain and I realized where they were. I don’t really know how to explain that, but don’t go see Mogwai if you have any repressed memories that you don’t want to dredge up perhaps. I found it pretty amazing, I’m not sure this is a positive thing or not but yeah. Loud bass, bright lights, hypnotic drones = I found my sunglasses. Good times.
The set was great otherwise too, with a great mix of some of their newer stuff from the new album and a lot of the best songs from their back catalog. Herod, Satan and Hunted by a Freak were fantastic to hear. It’s really one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen and you’ll be doing yourself a favor if you go see them whenever you can. Just be sure to bring some earplugs.
- The Precipice
- Yes! I Am a Long Way From Home
- Thank You Space Expert
- Friend of the Night
- I Love You, I’m Going To Blow Up Your School
- I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead
- Hunted by a Freak
- Mogwai Fear Satan
- Scotland’s Shame
- Helicon 1
- 2 Rights Make 1 Wrong
- Like Herod