As Yo La Tengo’s North American tour is well underway (with a gala performance taking place just a stone’s throw from the old Tube Bar just an hour or two away), the following shows have just been confirmed :
October 1 – Babylon Club, Ottawa, Canada
October 11 – Belly Up Aspen, Aspen, CO
October 12 – In The Venue, Salt Lake City, UT
In honor of this exciting announcement, I thought about posting a YouTube clip of Ira and Georgia performing at Waterfront Records in 1988, but you’re probably gonna get plenty of that sort of thing in Jersey City tonight.
So instead, here’s Dr. Gene Scott. Have a wild weekend!
The Matmos Paris France experience proved to be more graceful and elegant than the earthier and rocking Matmos London England experience. A bit like Paris versus London all over really. I guess the tone was set by the cultural palace that is the Centre Pompidou versus the garish red walls and velvet of Koko. But it was also the appearance on stage of the grand piano, its raised lid echoing the curves of the full sized classical harp. Both these instruments were missing from London.
The shows starts with Nate walking on to the powerful filmed imagery of the rose emerging from a cows uterus. The screen is massive (as is the stage) Disembodied plastic gloved hands manipulate both flower and body part. The song this accompanied, “Tract For Valerie Solonas”, ends with Martin playing a large inflated helium balloon. “YTTE” proves to be a crowd pleaser. “Roses and Teeth For Ludwig Wittgenstein” is propelled by Nate and Zeena using bunches of red roses as drumsticks. Petals fly into the air leaving the centre stage with a carpet of red. “Germs Burn For Darby Crash” starts with the unsettling footage of a cigarette burning Drews forearm and the gasp of his pain. An audience volunteer has his head shaved into a Mohawk with an amplified electric shaver by Martin. As the performance ends the audience calls for an encore. The house lights go up but people want more. After another song the band have to return to the stage to a standing ovation. Paris loves Matmos! And so do I. Both the London and Paris shows were stunning in their own right.
As most of the tri-state area checks and double-checks the PATH schedule in anticipation of Friday’s bound-to-be-epic (and only NY-area) Yo La Tengo show at the Loews Theater, More Cowbell has a review and pics of last night’s show at 9:30 Club in DC. Word on the street is that this Hoboken 3-some are alright!
*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:
November 21, Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA
November 22, Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, NY
November 24, Majestic Theatre, Detroit, MI
November 25, Rivera Theater, Chicago, IL
November 26, Mississippi Nights, St. Louis, MO
November 28, Meridian, Houston, TX
November 29, Gypsy Ballroom, Dallas, TX
(Silversun Pickups play 1st on all dates, Dead Meadow 2nd)
In addition, there’s a post-show meet & greet par-tay happening tomorrow night at the Independent Bar, 3rd and Central, St. Petersberg, FL. If you’re an old friend of Jennifer’s, be sure to stop by. If you’re a new friend, you’re equally welcome to come ’round (except you might have to buy your own drink).
Mogwai’s contributions to the original score of Darren Aronofsky’s “The Fountain” can be heard next week when the long awaited followup to “Requiem For A Dream” is screened at Austin’s Alamo South as part of the 2006 Fantastic Fest. Aronofsky will be on hand for a little Q and A, and prior to “The Fountain”, they’ll be showing René Laloux’s “Fantastic Planet”.
Mogwai headline Glasgow’s Barrowlands tomorrow night, and they’ll be at the Manchester Academy on Sunday.