TRACERS: Anyway Brendan, on Tuesday night PostLibyan and I
went and saw Mogwai, with Bardo Pond opening. We got there really
early, so we got nice seats and a table -- I felt like such
a grown up.
As to Bardo Pond -- i'll admit it -- I don't think I'd ever
heard their music before.
POSTLIBYAN: I am familiar with Bardo Pond. I have two of their
albums: 1996's Amanita and 1997's Lapsed.
I also used to own a copy of 1999's Set And Setting,
but i sold it on the Internet because i
Basically Bardo Pond started out as some sort of intensely
psychedelic drone band. I really enjoy the sonic textures on
those earlier LP's. By 1999 they had become less drone and more
bluesy. They had become like Black Sabbath, or rather an incomplete
clone thereof. I was no longer impressed.
TRACERS: They opened with this really cool instrumental drone
number with flute. I liked it a lot.
POSTLIBYAN: This first song reminded more of their early work
-- texture created by layering tone after tone on top of each
other. However, soon thereafter they fell into their Black Sabbath
phase, and i became bored.
TRACERS: I especially liked the unintentional visual effect
of having a purple light shining through one of Mogwai drummer's
toms (which were set up at the back of the stage). It gave this
eerie glowing lavender effect. neat.
And I have to admit I really liked this other song where the
Mogwai drummer came out and played along with Bardo Pond's drummer.
Admittedly they played the exact same riff (which is impressive
in its own way), but it was a neat display (and for once the
drums overshadowed the droning guitars).
POSTLIBYAN: This was interesting i suppose. They both played
EXACTLY the same thing -- which just basically made the drum
part louder on that song. However -- i must ask, what was the
point? Maybe it's because i just saw Tortoise
recently and they had two drummer's playing DIFFERENT riffs,
but i wasn't that impressed. Yes, it was a remarkable display
of tandem drumming, and it really showed how well rehearsed
they were. But i would have been more impressed if they had
played different parts....
TRACERS: I was about to suggest that maybe the synchronicity
was the point. However, thinking back, although the drummers
played the same riff essentially,they weren't doing exactly
the drum combinations (for instance, the Mogwai drummer used
his ride cymbal more).
But otherwise I'd like the guitar drone, or the drumming, or
some other little bit of each song but that was it. I hated
the vocalist. She looked like she wanted to be Patti Smith (circa
Horses) and sounded like...i don't know...some
ethereal new age chick. so, I could have done without Bardo
POSTLIBYAN: On the whole, i was not impressed. It started off
okay, but then degenerated.
TRACERS: Then Mogwai came on and i really liked their set.
They really know how to use volume to good effect. And I liked
the interplay between the instruments -- each would be playing
a fairly simple repetition, but all together it would build
into something greater than just the parts. And you could tell
that despite the simplicity, this was all carefully crafted.
So they were impressive, if a bit on the ungodly loud side.
POSTLIBYAN: I loved the Mogwai set, and i hated the Mogwai
set. It was full of beautifully intricate guitar work, and some
really long drawn out feedback sessions.
No, really, i like feedback. I listen to that sort of
stuff sitting around my apartment. In a live setting, however,
it just seemed as if Mogwai were, well to use a term from their
culture, "wanking". It was unnecessary. This is especially
true when you consider that the other half of the Mogwai set
was full of chiming guitar melodies of such intricate and fragile
beauty that it made me lose myself completely in the melody.
That stuff was really really stunning. Then they would cover
the beauty with Noise just to prove how manly they are or something.
TRACERS: Exactly. And because so much of their stuff was beautiful
and entrancing, I was willing to work with them on the feedback
-- up to a point. Actually, I remember thinking during their
set, "a-ha! perhaps
I have actually found some feedback with a point"
POSTLIBYAN: I found myself looking at my watch during the feedback-y
sections and thinking, "Alright, get on with it. Do something
slow and beautiful next...."
I also feel that i must point out that the first really feedbacky
song they played had a part in the middle when all three guitarists
were playing an abrupt staccato rhythm. The song is on Ten
Rapid i think, but i am terrible with song names. Anyway,
as they were pounding away up there it seemed, for several minutes,
as if they had merged their song into a cover of Good Morning
Captain by Slint. I kept thinking that lead Mogwai Stuart
Braithewaite was going to step up to the microphone and start
wailing out some Slint. It was, i guess, just a coincidence!
TRACERS: HOWEVER, after their set, they came for the encore.
From hell. 25 minutes of droning, masturbatory feedback and
screeching. talk about self-indulgent. i couldn't believe it.
POSTLIBYAN: Exactly -- i kept waiting for them to end the feedback
and instead move on to close with something slow and lovely.
Eventually i gave up and then we left...
There is something i have to say though. The loud feedback-y
portions of the set remind me of listenting to Slint records.
The quiet parts remind me of The
For Carnation, which features the vocalist from Slint. I
might be making this comparison because i have Slint on the
brain after thinking about that song Mogwai did, but the slower
stuff really ebbs and flows and chimes like The
For Carnation did when we saw them.
The slower parts of the Mogwai show could go head to head with
that amazing show by The For Carnation for sheer beauty. They
were that good. However, that was only half of the show. The
other half was self-indulgent. this brings the show down, in
TRACERS: I'm with you on this opinion -- at times I'd be watching
them and think "this is the best show I've seen in a looooonnnnggg
time" and then *poof* it's feedback time. But I was at
home by midnight, so I guess i can't complain.
POSTLIBYAN: On the whole, i would say that this was an okay
night. However, there were some moments that were so amazing
that i think they
overpower the crappier feedback moments.