You could make a drinking game out of all the different Scottish inventions. Golf. Adhesive postage stamps. The Buick. For such a small country, Scotland has turned out more than its share of people with cool-sounding accents doing creative stuff, unbeknownst to the general public. Maybe it has something to do with the beer.
Monday evening, Glasgow band Mogwai took the stage at the TLA, proving once again that Scotland houses underappreciated genius in its lands. London-based Part Chimp -- a loud metal-rock outfit -- opened for them. The members of Part Chimp sweat a lot, and sometimes the lead singer wailed incoherently into his microphone, harking back to their band name. Although the music was very raw and a little bit boring, Mogwai's lead guitarist Stuart Braithwaite stood in the audience tapping his foot to it. To each his own cup of tea.
|Mogwai Theater of the Living Arts September 8, 2003|
A short while later, Mogwai took over in delivering the rock. Keeping with the Scottish tradition, Mogwai have invented, or at least perfected, a unique genre of music: the softer-and-softer-until-you're-almost-pleasantly-asleep-and-then-suddenly-JARRING-NOISE!
Think erupting volcano, or hot coffee on your leg. It can be dangerous to listen to them while driving, but in the confines of a concert venue with good air flow, Mogwai brings its audience to another place -- in a good way.
Mogwai plays primarily instrumental music that runs the gamut of sound: sometimes stark piano, sometimes long stretches of quiet melodic bits, and then at other times, loud and cacophonous bowel-loosening guitar. Essentially, it's like waking up in the middle of the night. You're experiencing a blissful dream state when out of the blue, you jolt awake and have to go to the bathroom.
Performing for roughly 90 minutes including an encore, Mogwai pleased the crowd both with songs off their new album, Happy Songs For Happy People, as well as with older favorites such as "Yes! I am a Long Way From Home" and "Mogwai Fear Satan," a 20-minute long epic. For lack of a less cheesy word, it was intense. With great deliberation, a guy nearby said, "That was the best live show ever."
Although the banter remained at a minimum, Stuart endeared himself to the audience by ending the night with "thank ye fer missin' the fitba'." As if the Eagles could compare.