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- Astoria, London »
- Mogwai »
9:15pm: I feel dirty. I'm upstairs at the Astoria, watching Mogwai - fuckin' Mogwai. I'm sitting down. They just played 'Ratts Of The Capital', the bass doing something ungodly to the ribcages of every man jack in this here building, and I'm sitting down.
Last time I saw Mogwai my forehead spent the duration of the gig pressed against the Scala's front stack of speakers. And now every note they play seems deeper and harder and darker than the last; the loud bits rip vital parts from your body, and the quiet lulls leave a hush that reveals the clink of every beer can underfoot, and a sea of reproachful, righteous "sshhhh"s in response. And as the guitars recede and a cheer ascends from the assembled worshippers, and the bass is STILL ceaselessly, unwaveringly drilling a tunnel through my third eye, I'm sitting down. I'm missing the whole fucking thing.
9:25pm: Fuck me. I'm standing two feet from a twenty-foot high speaker stack as Mogwai carve out trenches on the terrain of my skull. A hundred thousand mirrorball reflections flit and firefly across the ceiling and there's a man standing in front of me sending smoke signals up into the great beyond with his reefer. Stuart Braithwaite requests that the bass be turned up, the drum salvo delivers a swift kicking to two thousand chests, and as Mogwai's guitars siren and spiral into the heights of the Astoria, one thing remains clear in this otherwise hazy scene - watching Mogwai is no spectator sport. This is all-out war; biological and sonic ammunition delivered with crippling accuracy.
'Christmas Steps' wreaks wicked and gorgeous havoc as 15,000 volts of electricity and a few quick stabs from the bass drum shock the audience out of their reverie, provoking a cry pitched somewhere between anguish and rapture. And as an infantry line of strobes blinds the battered throng, the jagged and deafening climax of 'Mogwai Fear Satan' smashes through the exaggerated quiet, and it's over. Those left standing stumble in a stupor from the Astoria, their faces clouded with confusion and awe. There are few bands in existence with this kind of emotional and physical impact, let alone the ability to deliver it wordlessly - literally letting the music do the talking. Mogwai are a rarity. Cherish them while you can.
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