Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Photos/Review: Mogwai @ Webster Hall

Mogwai @ Webster Hall - June 15, 2012
Photos: Chris / Review: Trista Hou (Bingshu Hou)

If fans were upset with Mogwai for canceling their scheduled shows in NYC last year, than they were probably blown away by the band finally coming back on June 14 and 15 at Webster Hall. Clearly, I was one of those fans. On Friday, the Scottish post-rock legends played songs that spanned two decades worth of work, including tracks from their sophomore effort Come On Die Young and their latest album, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will.

I have to admit that Mogwai’s live show is one of the plainest I’ve ever seen: no ostentatious costumes, no delicate stage setup, and very sparse interaction with the audience. However, it didn’t affect us being completely enticed by their music. Using their lengthy guitar-based instrumental pieces and typical sound distortions, they brought you into their world. The advantage of being plain is that the audience was made to give its full attention to the music itself, and also conjures up our intensified nitpicking of the band’s songwriting. 

Mogwai didn’t let us down, at least me. I was immersed in the wall of sound and sea of noise they created, from the beginning till the end. It was like a journey to a dreamland... they did their best to balance their performance, so as their instrumental metal wouldn't be too heavy, and their shoe gazing not too drowsy. When a familiar keyboard gently began, I knew it was the symbolic track “I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead” from The Hawk is Howling. Its high pitched sound penetrated through all of their instruments and stayed at a position, knitting melodic strands, creating an outpouring of sadness that more or less invaded you. 

As “We’re No Here” was about to end the show, the sound effects seemed to take us to the top of a mountain overlooking an entire dreamland. Joy mixed with exhaustion after this arduous trip, and it was time to seize the last moment of enjoyment, for we knew that after this, we'd have to return to the disappointing and mundane reality of repeating days and nights. Mogwai is fantasy; or they're a hallucinogen that can temporarily take you to a world of fantasy.


Mogwai will play several more dates this summer, mostly in Europe. In the meantime, the band recently announced plans to release a remix album (a first for the band) titled A Wrenched Virile Lore, which will include remixes of songs from Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will. You can download to the first released song from the album, which is Xander Harris' take on "How To Be A Werewolf."

Also check out a full set of photos from Friday's show, in addition to their setlist below...

Mogwai @ Webster Hall - June 15, 2012 Setlist
Yes! I Am A Long Way From Home
White Noise
I Know You Are But What Am I?
San Pedro
Mexican Grand Prix
Stanley Kubrick
Stop Coming To My House
How to Be a Werewolf
2 Rights Make 1 Wrong
Ratts of the Capital

Rano Pano
I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead
We're No Here