At last! It's the 26th of August!
I had phoned up and got a photo pass so I could take some photos
for this website and my fanzines and then I had to just wait for
Wednesday. And then, even when it was Wednesday I had to sit and
wait until it was about 5 o'clock until it was likely they'd have
arrived. As I walked to the Lemon Tree I felt like stopping people
and telling them to come and see Mogwai - all these lucky people
in Aberdeen could just walk down the road and see Mogwai tonight
and they probably didn't realise it. I managed not to act like a
mad person though and made it to the Lemon Tree where I discovered
an enormous coach being unloaded by unrecognisable people. I hovered
around pathetically and then ventured on to the stage whereupon
I recognised Dominic. "I'm here to take photos", I said and he waved
I picked my way carefully across the stage and spotted
Stuart at a table full of people. He said hello and took his feet
off the nearest chair so I could sit down. Polite small talk was
made until John from the Yummy Fur (as I later discovered it was)
wandered over and started asking technical questions about Mogwai's
equipment, pronouncing, "no way!", after Stuart's every utterance.
Mogwai do strange things with their equipment then, it seems. I
think we realised that. Everyone seems bored and Stuart says he
hates both board games and card games - that'll be his 3-second
attention span then. I ask if they've been shopping yet and everyone
pounces on me to ask if I know where record shops are. Of course
I do so Stuart and the Yummy Fur with myself leading, make our way
to One Up.
As we near the entrance I give directions, "CDs upstairs,
vinyl downstairs". "Downstairs for me!", shouts everyone and we
all race down the stairs. I don't think One Up will ever know what
hit it - everyone rushes instinctively towards the second hand area
and then run about showing each other records and talking non-stop
until the bloke (the one who always sighs when I buy anything 'cos
he thinks everything I buy is obscure and unfindable) tells us they're
closing in a few minutes. Decisions are promptly made and purchased
except for Stuart as they can't find the video he wants. We wander
back to the Lemon Tree happily until John notices we've lost Stuart
- slight panic ensues until we're told "he bumped into someone he
knows at a bus stop". As you do.
John invites me to come up with them to the Yummy
Fur dressing room so I do. They've got their own dressing room which
impresses them hugely especially as it's got a big bell in it and
a broken window. I fully intend to go downstairs for Mogwai's soundcheck
but I get offered food and they're such fun that I stay. John keeps
ribbing me about being a Mogwai fan - asking me to name the Mogwai
songs we can hear drifting up through the floor.
Stuart wanders in after to find out what the food
was like and to borrow the NME. He really wanted to ring the bell
though. I watch the Yummy Fur's soundcheck and by the time that's
over it's practically time for doors open. Mogwai hang about at
the front of the stage to watch the Yummy Fur's short set due to
their lack of bass player. In fact Stuart hangs around for most
of the time in between bands too, possibly due to the sounds of
The venue decides right at the last minute not to
let me take photos during Mogwai's set - I'm completely furious
because, if they'd told me earlier, I could have taken photos during
the soundcheck. Apparently they're worried about all the rabid Mogwai
fans breaking down the barrier in their haste to clamber onstage
and hug the band. This is obviously completely preposterous and
indeed the few interested members of the audience seem to have little
inclination for anything more than leaning slightly on the barrier.
But the security staff are all being a bit fascist. Stuart tells
me later that one of them asked him to move away from the entrance
to the stage 'cos no-one was allowed to stand in it. "Aye, the reason
you're keeping it clear is so that I can walk through it as a member
of the band", countered Stuart. Reason means nothing to security
though and he insisted on Stuart moving.
So Mogwai take the stage as I sulk back to my friends.
They play the most amazing set - I'm completely shocked again. Every
time I think I've got them sussed they turn up and smash all my
expectations into the ground. Sometimes Mogwai sound like a fairground
in hell, merry
-go-rounds taken over by demons. Other times they
sound like candyfloss but nobody's fooled any more. We know there
will be hell to pay if we stop and dream.
Aberdeen talks loudly throughout the quiet bits but
looks visibly shaken by the first outburst of noise. Nice move,
starting with 'Mogwai Fear Satan'. Mind you, it makes little difference.
People just start headbanging to the loud bits and talking through
the quiet bits. "They don't look very happy, do they?', mutters
David after a couple of songs. As if on cue, Stuart comes to the
microphone and asks people to stop talking - he's sounding a bit
stroppy and, as he turns away, he drops his guitar. Cue much cheering
from audience - oh dear.
I don't know if it's anger but they just get louder
and nastier. When the play 'Xmas Steps' I find myself creeping nearer
the stage and closer to the speakers. I love people's faces when
the riffing comes in and they go, 'oh, loud bit', and then the really
loud bit comes in. I just drown myself in the noise and let it go
right through me. At one point, it hits my spine and it's as if
my entire nervous system gives way. You have to savour these moments.
And then to follow this they play 'Like Herod' which is just completely
Then it's all over and no-one seems at all like they've
just witnessed a unique event in Aberdeen's history and that they've
ruined the chance of thousands of Aberdonians ever seeing Mogwai
live, thanks to their selfish behaviour. Nicolette and Chris seem
to be in first-time Mogwai exhilaration shock so we all stand about
grinning a lot.
After a while I retrieve my beer from David and Chris
and head upstairs to see what's happening. "You can't take that
outside", moans the doorman. "Can I go upstairs?", I counter and
he agrees, still under the impression that I'm the sixth member
of the Yummy Fur. As I walk up the stairs, a woman rushes through
the door and shouts, "Are you with the band?". "Yes", I lie, in
believable bored voice and continue upstairs. They're very worried
about rabid Mogwai fans here...
Stuart's in the Yummy Fur's dressing room and I sit
next to him. He shows me his thumb which he cut during the gig and
then starts moaning about how he'd forgotten why they never play
places like Aberdeen any more. "You'll never come back, will you?",
I ask, knowing what the answer will be. "No", replies Stuart succinctly,
laughing at the look on my face. Oh well. Stuart can't understand
why people would spend £7 to see a band they're not interested in.
John agrees saying people should know what to expect with Mogwai
but I disagree with this and tell them about the bloke who came
up to me and asked, "Is it all instrumentals or do they do any songs
with words?". "Mostly instrumentals", I tell him and I hear him
passing this information on to his friends: "She says they do mostly
Stuart dominates the conversation in the room - basically
he opens his mouth and doesn't shut it for the next thirty minutes.
I have never met anyone with the talking ability of Stuart. Even
when no-one's paying attention, he'll just take over someone else's
conversation. He is incredibly funny though and a right old gossip
too. Don't ever tell Stuart your secrets. He also admits that his
trainers are the worst footwear ever - I thought the man just had
no style but he's actually working on his own style - challenging
accepted standards of clothing you can actually wear out of the
Stuart disappears at one point and I don't really
see him again until everyone's about to get on the bus, off to Glasgow
and then to Reading where more lucky people will get to experience
the noise and wonder of Mogwai. It's sad to see them go but at least
I got them here in the first place and I'll see them again even
if it'll never again be in Aberdeen.
Marceline now lives in Glasgow and has seen Mogwai
play over a dozen times
Article by Marceline