Katie Mccullough Talks and Writes

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Mogwai April 9, 2009

Filed under: London,theatre,Theatre and writing — katiemccullough @ 12:46 pm

MogwaiFriday saw me mustering all the energy I could gather in my bones and spend the night being fuelled by epic guitar soundscapes and harsh electronica. Just the way I like it.

It started off with seeing Mogwai at the Hammersmith Apollo and what can I say… they blow me away. They’ve got a rage of urgency but are humble enough to say thank you. It’s a bit like being punched in the gut but preempting it and then taking the hoodlum for a vodka. If you like your music loud Mogwai are for you. If you like raw raucous melodies and thrashing guitars this is for you. If you like a bopping little ditty and something to play to your grandmother… then this ain’t for the faint hearted.

I first saw Mogwai back many years ago in (Katie can’t remember so being the stickler that she is goes scurrying for her gig tickets)…
Mogwai the First Time

Here we go, 2001. I remember it being the loudest gig I’ve been to and had forewarned my friend who I was taking to the gig about this. To me their music is the kind of music that deserves to be loud. Because of their lack of vocals, I know they do sing occasionally but are not renowned for it, you pay special attention to the flourishes of instrument and melody. When music makes your chest vibrate and pilo-erection kicks in you know you’ve scored a hit. It’s thinking music and it’s moving music. Either way I’m glad I got to see them again. I had the tough decision of choosing between seeing Nitin Sawhney at the Roundhouse (as part of the Electric Proms) or Mogwai. Upon hearing that there was to be an after party where you could buy your way in, we opted for the latter. It was the fact that we could see Mogwai perform a whole gig and then see them DJ alongside with Fuck Buttons, Four Tet, James Holden and PAPS (for the keen SFA enthusiast among you) that sealed the deal. That and the tally of me seeing Nitin Sawhney already weighed heavy compared to that of the Moggers.

(Jamie will note: we were meant to see them perform at the Royal Albert Hall, a venue where I’ve been before but would have loved to cream myself listening to Mogwai explode and shake the musty rafters. Alas, we were stuck in a traffic jam and make the gig we did not do.)

The gig was exemplary and as my faithful culture companion pointed out: because their music is so vast and long when they do an encore it’s like a whole other gig. It’s true and satisfying. They mixed it up with classics from Young Team, Happy Songs For Happy People and dallied with newer ones from Rock Action, Mr Beast and the shiny The Hawk Is Howling.

After that we proceeded to undertake the after party. This involved queueing for two hours in the bitter cold even though we had tickets. It was very frustrating and confusing but we got in and fun was ultimately had. Dancing to hardcore electronica with a bottle of Magners in hand next to big fuck off amps does make for heavy vibrations all over ones body. The bass was so present by a mere touch we could feel the pulse through each other’s chests. Crazy! There was also some crazy angular (I’d say Pan’s People inspired moves) dancing from an asymmetrical lady who seemed to take her dancing seriously. She lunged and saluted and treated the dance floor like her lover. I for one could not stop laughing but it provided ample entertainment for me and my friend so we danced the night away some more ourselves.

The rest of the night was a blur of a 24 hour cafe with small tables, drunk strangers not accepting truthful statements, Welsh men leaning on cardigans and “everyone looking like a comedian”. Not to mention the freezing train home, the pissed moaning woman whose driver’s license and mobile had been stolen and the guy who, even though his position was at the other end of the carriage, had his iPod on so incredibly loud I could hear the album he was being deafened by. That was no bad thing as I liked it and I mouthed along and it kept me company on the journey home. I think I confused him out a little when he caught me singing along. He got off at St. Albans, I didn’t have an opportune moment to thank him for his melodies.

In the house and straight to bed at 7am… worked from 2pm. All in a day’s work/play/dalliance. Please delete as you see fit.


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