Sunday, May 11, 2008
The Splendour in the Grass festival may basically be a bunch of boring hipster Triple J bands these days, but back in 2006 it was really something. Sonic Youth, Brian Wilson, TV On the Radio, Mogwai, and others all played and as far as lineups go, it was definitely the best festival I've ever been to. While most of the aforementioned bands put on near-perfect performances, for me, nothing topped Mogwai on the Saturday night of the festival.
This was just a few months after Mogwai released their album Mr. Beast, but the timing is almost irrelevant because Mogwai put together some of the best setlists of any band I can think of. Their shows are faithful to their entire back catalogue, with a number of songs going back even before their first album.
This recording isn't the Splendour performance (though that is downloadable in flac from the Internet Archive), but it does happen to be the best quality live recording of Mogwai I've ever heard, with one of the best setlists to boot (it's really only lacking Mogwai Fear Satan...which admittedly is a fairly big omission). My personal favourites from this set are "Yes! I Am a Long Way From Home" for its mix of gorgeous melody and crushing dynamics, "Hunted By a Freak" for its crazy vocoder sound, "I Know You Are But What Am I?" for sounding way different to the album version and possibly even more awesome and "Helicon 1" for basically being the best post-rock song ever written. Also notable is that this is one of the few recordings from the Mr. Beast tour to include "My Father My King", the band's 20 minute EP consisting of one song of the same name. Basically, this is Mogwai at their finest and it's hard to imagine someone not finding something to like here.