Speakers Push Air

Songs For An Imaginary Bootleg
February 28, 2011, 6:51 pm
Filed under: Gigs!

I went to see Mogwai last night.. the first time in quite a while, but probably the 20th time in all.

It was down by the Tyne in the gloriously weird-looking Sage, which makes up part of one of my favourite stretches of riverside anywhere – the swing bridge, the Baltic, the Tyne Bridge itself.

Not a great place for a Mogwai gig, though: much is made of its acoustic perfection, little of its near-total lack of atmosphere.

From the outside it looks like this:

The inside of the main hall look like this:

So that from the inside of the main hall, you think the outside of the main hall looks like this:

Blond wood, shiny surfaces, art centre sterility. No drinks in the auditorium, but icecreams available from old school usherettes in the atrium during interval. And there’s something about seated gigs that feels joyless: you may not be able to dance to Mogwai, but I was always a lurcher, and lurching in your seat, surrounded by silent, polite, clapping types seems a little remedial.

Which makes the fact that Mogwai were on fantastic form all the more astonishing. The sound in that place IS amazing and since I wasn’t lurching or drinking, I could pick up on little details I’d always been too drunk (or too lurchy) to notice before. The new stuff sounded even better (Hardcore.. is their best album since Rock Action, I think) and we got Helicon AND Xmas Steps for an encore. It wasn’t loud enough, but apart from those two shows at Shepherds Bush Empire and Brixton Academy when people ran crying from the hall at the end of My Father My King, it’s never loud enough.

Scouring the setlists for other shows makes me jealous of anyone who got the aforementioned My Father My King (and impressed just how much the band change up their set night by night). It also led me, slightly autistically perhaps, to fake a bootleg, simply sticking the set they played in order together. I refrained from nicking crowd noises off an old metal album or something, which is some sort of relief. Anyway, it’s here if you want it:

Mogwai – Songs For An Imaginary Bootleg (The Sage, Gateshead, February 27th 2011)

  1. White Noise
  2. Friend Of The Night
  3. Letters to the Metro
  4. Cody
  5. Death Rays
  6. Killing All The Flies
  7. Rano Pano
  8. How To Be A Werewolf
  9. I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead
  10. You’re Lionel Richie
  11. 2 Rights Make 1 Wrong
  12. Mexican Grand Prix
  13. New Paths To Helicon, Pt 1
  14. Christmas Steps

And finally, here’s Helicon from Stirling last month

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