The Null Device

Mogwai

I just came back from seeing Mogwai, and my ears are still ringing.

They played at the Prince of Wales in St Kilda; the last time I set foot at this venue was to see FourPlay, and back then the PA was appalling. Though this time, the problem had apparently been fixed; either that, or with all the amps Mogwai had on stage, the Prince's PA was irrelevant. Either could equally be the case.

First up were a Sydney band named Decoder Ring. Somewhat Tortoise-ish, or perhaps like Prop with guitars instead of chromatic percussion. They were OK; quite agreeable in places, though they didn't excite me all that much.

Then Mogwai came on, picked up their instruments and made a lot of noise. Two basses, 3 guitars, a Rhodes piano, a flute, a sampler, a Titanium PowerBook and a lot of amplifiers, pedals and miscellaneous kit. They started with You Don't Know Jesus, then went into Mogwai Fear Satan, with the quiet flute bit suddenly going into a tidal wave of distorted guitar. They also played Helicon 1, making some quite lovely shoegazer textures, and then went into 2 Rights Make 1 Wrong, with vocoded vocals and a processed drum loop of some sort (though no banjo). For the encore they did Secret Pint (which I thought was one of the less interesting parts of Rock Action, though they fleshed it out a bit with the Rhodes), and then into an intense, headbanging version of the Jewish hymn My Father My King, rocking for a good 10-20 minutes and culminating with the bald guy tearing most of the strings out of his guitar, and leaving it to feedback, turning his attention to cranking all the amps up to 11 and doing things with pedals, treating the audience to several minutes of fucked-up noise. It goes without saying that they totally rocked.

the set list

There are 10 comments on "Mogwai":

Posted by: Graham http://grudnuk.com Fri Oct 18 00:49:43 2002

Umm, you did wear earplugs, didn't you?

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org Fri Oct 18 05:23:29 2002

I did at the start, but they muffled all the higher frequencies. Bugger that, I didn't pay $33 to not hear anything.

Posted by: GJW http://the-fix.org Fri Oct 18 06:32:17 2002

I thought the ear plugs were good; I could actually hear the notes through the noise, but i could still _feel_ the power. It seems they played a different set for you though; there was no flute, vocoder, or laptops involved at the Adelaide gig, just "rawk".

Posted by: Graham http://grudnuk.com Fri Oct 18 08:53:21 2002

I think you can get special ones that attenuate evenly across the frequency range; a little pricey, though, as you might expect.

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org Fri Oct 18 09:07:23 2002

I should probably look into those. The hexagonal bits of foam that come from the vending machine for $2 just don't cut it.

Posted by: hot soup girl http://finishhim.blogspot.com/ Sun Oct 20 02:45:59 2002

That gig was a religious experience; turned my head inside out. In fact, I only just got home, and the gig was two days ago: such is the awesome power that is Mogwai.

(Also; I would have worn earplugs, but the vending machine at the Prince of Wales was out of commission that night.)

Posted by: hot soup girl http://finishhim.blogspot.com/ Sun Oct 20 02:46:00 2002

That gig was a religious experience; turned my head inside out. In fact, I only just got home, and the gig was two days ago: such is the awesome power that is Mogwai.

(Also; I would have worn earplugs, but the vending machine at the Prince of Wales was out of commission that night.)

Posted by: hot soup girl http://finishhim.blogspot.com/ Sun Oct 20 02:46:38 2002

Dagnammit.

Posted by: iain http:// Mon Oct 21 22:29:05 2002

Thanks for the photo of the set list... it all came flooding back! Mmmmmm.....

Posted by: ianw http:// Sat Nov 2 07:25:27 2002

..offtopic? just wanted to let you know that sound problems at the PoW are not the fault of the sound system. The space itself is acoustically quite dingy, and, aside from the fact that the more people to soak up reverberation the better, the bulk of the solution is skillful mixing, ie. the sound guy. Mind you, in some cases (ie. depending on the band) no amount of skill can polish a turd, as it were.

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