Mogwai + Fuck Buttons @ Terminal 5

“AH’M AHN EPILEPTEEEK!”

“AH’M AHN EPILEPTEEEK!”

The short drunk Scot (“a wee cunt”?) next to us continually mooed this particular phrase for a good ten minutes before lapsing. Theories abound as to why, but I’m no expert. Hell, I’ve barely seen more than 20 minutes of Braveheart. Maybe it’s an attempt to compensate for the overall dourness of the Brit with a peppy, can-annoy attitude. Maybe he had his kibbles fondled by a soccer* coach as a child. Perhaps he has a tiny penis that, even when excited, can barely be seen from six inches away.

We will never know.

Joe had a good point during the cab ride back – such things are part and parcel of the “live experience”; crowds of people, in addition to being a slew of crowdy, pushy bastards, tend to do things like that. But it just seemed like last night’s crowd was shittier than usual, from the pushy young ladies who are too young, pretty or short to punch, to the short guys and the old guys respectively – or in combination. I’d hate to see these guys at a Low show; it’d be a bloodbath!

Maybe I was just cranky? I don’t think so, because Fuck Buttons rocked my socks off.I’d heard the name but never really given them much time; I’d also heard their live show was damn good. And it is. They’re a “noise band” in the same way that My Bloody Valentine was a noise band; a smear of sound that buries pops and hooks that are cozy and perhaps even conventional. Grooves aren’t really invited to the party, at least in the traditional sense. (Being able to count to four, though invaluable in modern music, isn’t really much of a “groove.”)

Two skinny young men on either side of a table, sides to the audience, rocking back and forth to an obscured metronome; some keyboards; a modified dictaphone of some kind; a loud pulsing throb of a wall of sound. The pretty is buried beneath tension and static. Their album Street Horrrsing – which I immediately bought after the set – is one of the best things I’ve heard all year. Their set was basically the album tracks played live, with a progressively intensifying energy that ended with a monochromatic four-on-the-floor slathering of glistening static and submerged melodies. (Called “Bright Tomorrow” on the cd.)

Despite their obscene name and the general unfriendliness (and obscurity) of the “noise” label, I think these guys will go far. Even a stopped Pitchfork is right twice a day.

Mogwai played for two hours and hit all the high notes you’d expect (“Hunted By a Freak”, “Helicon”, “Like Herod”, etc) including a very nice lyrical version of “Cody” from the album of the same name. I had a real bad time a long while back and listened to “Cody” on repeat for hours, hoping to make it go away; it helped (inadvertently) so it was an interesting circumnavigation finally hear it from 20 feet away.

They are an exceedingly dour-looking band, with only their short guitarist (Stuart Leslie Braithwaite, according to Wikipedia) moving much or displaying any real emotion. He politely paused to politely thank the largely polite audience between songs. Everyone else on stage looked sort of pissed off, like they were concentrating on a fixed point or doing some algebraic equations and being distracted by being on a stage doing the whole band thing. Still, it was everything you could have hoped for.

Though I can’t say I like strobe lights in the general, their use was effective and dramatic. At one point, a beleaguered showgoer and his/her friend pushed through to the exit right as Mogwai began their strobe-ing, so perhaps it wasn’t for everyone; one plus side to aging is that a general empathy tends to wrangle with the specific crankiness I’ve shown above.

The new Mogwai was not available for sale yet, so the wife had to settle for the faux-Soviet t-shirt instead. And I’m all sorts of glad I wore earplugs.

*Note: If you’re American and pointedly insist on using “football” to describe “soccer” when America already has a game called “football,” you’re basically being that kind of guy and should probably knock it the hell off. Don’t be that guy.

www.mogwai.co.uk | www.fuckbuttons.co.uk

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Mogwai + Fuck Buttons @ Terminal 5

  1. smacky

    I’d hate to see these guys at a Low show; it’d be a bloodbath!

    QFT! The most violent concert-goers always crawl out of the woodwork at the most twee concerts.

    Though I can’t say I like strobe lights in the general, their use was effective and dramatic.

    I lolled when I read this. If you’re looking for an explanation for this:

    The short drunk Scot (”a wee cunt”?) next to us continually mooed this particular phrase for a good ten minutes before lapsing. Theories abound as to why, but I’m no expert.

    look no further. Strobe lights induce epilepsy in epileptics. Or maybe you knew that already and opened with the Scotsman anecdote for effect. Hilarious, marvelous effect.

  2. naw naw, he wasn’t epileptic, he was just attention-starved.

  3. great review. check out my interview with Benjamin Power from Fuck Buttons over at http://www.stereocache.wordpress.com

  4. nice interview! they seem like friendly guys, and more importantly, i hope they keep releasing neat bits in the future. street horrrrrsing is definitely one of my best of 2008 records.

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