I’m off to see the lovely Mogwai – Scotsmen with guitars – next month.
Here’s a few memorable gigs from the past:
Godspeed You! Black Emperor, a church in Baltimore, 2001-ish: a horrible cliche, but a GYBE concert was a true experience and this one was no exception, filling the entire neighbourhood with their fin de siecle soundscapes, fragile melodies, eccentric 16mm looped films and near frightening presence, all beards, rollups and anarchic sneer.
Yo La Tengo, a small club in (er) Baltimore, 1999: the airless little room (I can’t remember its name, but I think it was near Fells Point) that seemed to match a very personal performance by Hoboken’s alternative favourites (who once played the Velvet Underground on the screen).
Gillian Welch, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, 2004: not your most uplifting of country singers, but beautifully written ballads, played with utmost professionalism and feeling; Support from Old Crow Medicine Show – politically tinged bluegrass.
Robert Fripp soundscapes, Theater of Living, Philadelphia, 1998. There were cushions for the audience at the feet of the Fripp: “this remains the best way I know of making a lot of noise with one guitar”.
Sigur Ros, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, 2001. Who’d thought playing a guitar with a violin bow could make such a sound?
Sonic Youth, Royal Festival Hall, 2001. Played a selection of avant garde pieces much to the disgust of most of the grunge-heads: “Play ‘Teenage Riot’!”
Mogwai, 2003, Astoria. Guys in front spent the entire gig smoking dope (blech!). Bardo Pond supported and rumours are that the feedback can still be heard.
Got any favourites of your own?