*I did take photos at the Mogwai gig, but for some reason, WordPress is being odd and not letting me post them. It may be for the best, because, in what is becoming a habit of mine, they were really rubbish photos.
Anyways, the entire Matador Europe staff (me, Mike & Lucy), ex-Matadorian and super-publicist Sarah, and super Beggars radio lady Ruth all went to see Mogwai on Friday at the Royal Albert Hall. Now, this made me nervous for a couple of reasons – namely that we’d be going straight after work, which means I’d have to go to dinner with my aforementioned colleagues. Not that I don’t want to eat with them or anything, it’s just that my palette (when it comes to food) is, um, limited. The last time I went out to dinner with work people was last Christmas with Mike, Sarah, Patrick and Try Harder Records* supremo Alan English, and it was pretty excruciating because it was a very expensive French restaurant and I didn’t want to make a foodie faux-pas, what with me really only liking chicken and chips. I wasn’t actually a Matador Records employee at this stage either, so I was sure any display of weakness or lack of etiquette would eradicate any chance of a job I might have. I thought my best option was to order the Steak Tartare, thinking ‘Ah, steak with tartare sauce. I can just scrape the tartare sauce off, and no-one will be any the wiser, ho ho’. Some of you will be surprised to learn that Steak Tartare is actually raw meat mashed up into a kind of pudding. Not nearly as surprised as me. I nearly cried when I saw it. Summoning up all the courage I could muster, I told myself ‘You’re just going to have to eat it, or you’ll look like a tool’. Luckily Mike, by intuition (or by the look of poisoned anguish on my face) noticed that Steak Tartare may not be my thing, and shared some of his…I can’t remember what it was, but anything other than raw mashed-up meat was good enough for me. But obviously, I work here now, so that story had a happy ending – they obviously found my fear of food endearing.
Where was I? Oh yeah, having to go out to dinner with work people. Thankfully, we went somewhere that didn’t intimidate me too much (I was able to get sausages – phew) and had a lively discussion about Christian mythology and R Kelly.
Now, Matador don’t handle Mogwai’s records in Europe, so I can gush all I want about their awesomeness without being accused of nepotism. To begin with, the Royal Albert Hall is MASSIVE. MASSIVE. I’d never been before and it’s just…MASSIVE. It usually plays host to operas and orchestral stuff. We got in about 10 minutes from the end of Kid606**’s opening set, and it sounded remarkably like Jesu***. Does his new album all sound like that? It was very good, and considering the last two times I saw him he did 40 minutes of scorching noise and 1 hour of gabba respectively, it was nice to hear him kick back a little bit. 20 minutes later, the lights went off and Stuart came on to pluck the opening chords of ‘Christmas Steps’, one of many moments tonight where I thought ‘They’re doing this? Wicked, I can’t wait til it gets to the noise bit’. As a set, it was a perfect summation of Mogwai’s music – they did quiet stuff, they did the loud stuff, they did old and new stuff in equal measure. Hearing ‘Tracy’ live for the first time in aaaages was lovely, even more so when it transformed into ‘Mogwai Fear Satan’. It’s kind of useless to repeat the same things that everyone says about Mogwai (live or recorded), but they are so visceral live it’s untrue. During the closing ‘My Father, My King’ (oh yes) it was noise heaped upon noise, and when you think it can’t get any louder, someone steps on another pedal and it feels like they’re taking a drill to your eardrums (in a good way). ‘My Father, My King’ was so good, that when it was over it felt as if I hadn’t breathed for the previous half hour. Really, when Mogwai are good there’s not much that’s better than them. When they’re bad, they still fucking rule.
Because WordPress is having an off-day and not letting me link to things, here’s some further reading: