Playing devil’s advocate with Mogwai.

Event: Mogwai concert
Date: January 21, 2009 (Wednesday)
Venue: Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Malaysia

If music were a religion, and in Heaven exists a God as long as in Hell a Devil lives, and every sinner that dies walk through a Judgment Day before the Higher Beings decide, then it must be true that in this InBetween, it is a concert, a post rock concert. And Mogwai are the messengers of both bad and good news. And this concert is our sendoff.

Everyone were like doomed sinners standing outside the hall, watching our past lives flashing by in front of our eyes. As the doorbitches clasp the white cuffs around mywrist, it was impossible that I could feel any deader than I already am. (Don’t mind me, it has not been a good year thus far).

Even when someone tapped me on the shoulder and whispered, “Come. Follow me.” I followed aimlessly. Further away from the crowd to where his friends were. When he handed me a joint, I could only stare at it, say my prayers, and take a big suction.

Ah. The wonders of false hope.

The next thing I know, I was standing in the middle of the roaring crowd. Convicted ones swaying haphazardly with their plastic cups of sin, and snapping digital 3×5’s of this last moment in life. And inappropriate angels in green disguises roamed the jittery crowd, offering another sin to add to our list.

I looked up at the stage and there they were – Mogwai. They came with euphoric blue lights, pointing their guitars at us: “Sinners, be afraid. You shall be judged tonight.”

When the lights were soft and colourful, and the music was mellow and tragic in the opening of The Precipice and Scotland’s Shame, it was as if the Devil himself was making an appearance amongst us, brought forth to us by the band. The ghostly and incomprehensible vocals in Hunted by a Freak was like alluring caresses on my cheek and whispers of meaningless hallelujahs. I could only stare at the centre stage with my mouth agap and my mind literally stupefied. My body was too numb from all the sweet nothings to move.

A sense of liberation washed over me when the familiar chords of I Know You Are But What Am I? graced the stage. I could move again. But not on my own demand, but by the strings of the puppetmaster that is the Devil.

Coarsing through my mind were all the sad mistakes I have made in my life, and next to my ear he blew comfort. He said it was all good. What is life without a few joints, a couple of broken rules and promises, a bunch of lies, and a house full of skeletons.

If Hell is as good as it sounds, you said “take my hand and bring me there.”

Suddenly, He came. God. With the screeching lashes of Mogwai Fear Satan and the angered berates of Batcat. Gone were the solemn lights and it came bright white lights that would blind anyone who dared look up. I dared not look up. I could only lower my head and shut my eyes. Like a son cowering from his father’s heartless whips and shouts. He counted my sins and gave each of them an appropriate punishment.

The masterful percussion took over my heartbeat; giving it two pulses sometimes three whenever He likes, or just stopping it altogether just for fun. The screaming guitars tore at my skin and rattled the bones beneath it, as if shaking all the toxic out of me. The vices and lies and skeletons. I  could only shiver along with every beat and thump and shriek. The Devil gave the strings over to God and He was having the time of His life. We were His toys, happy to oblige because of Mogwai’s superiority on us.

Then, it ended. The lights went on irregardless of the crowd’s second bouts of encores. As if God and Devil had decided you know what, we shall give you another chance in living. Go. Be alive again.

As we shuffled out of the hall to have a cigarette out in the breezeless park, we were left with a constant ring in our ears and left with nothing more to say about Mogwai but how awesome they were. We could do nothing more but to laugh automatically at jokes, shake hands and hug people we met for the first time there, kiss our friends for being at the concert with us, and drove home with half a mind, went to bed half a person.

The morning after was awful. It was as if the second life was more of a mockery than a blessing. You feel more like a zombie than a second man. No music could suffice, and you dared not try to find something to fill the empty spaces in fear that the phantom sound left in your memory would just disappear. All you could hear is that persistent ringing in the ear, and your mind going in turbo speed, rambling on about the judgment God and Devil have laid on you the previous night. You have that and everything you thought you have left behind crowding your mind like a fucked up broken record. No food is good enough anymore. No sound is filling enough anymore. Even your cigarettes taste bland and you thought you caught a whiff of the splendour of the grass when you choke on the cigarette smoke.

You do not want to go to work, yet you worry if you are doing well enough at work. You want to stop thinking of the things that hurt you in life, but you cannot: why is it always a ruin to me? Why is my relationship falling apart? Why am I so sad all the time? Why, why, why and million more times why… You just want to hide in the toilet stall, crying tears of release. Please. Take me back to that stand still where the real world is left behind and Mogwai’s sendoff is all I will ever get. You bruise yourself a little in hopes it will go wrong and you can go back to the InBetween.

But you cannot. That was it. And here you are once again, trying to put all the pieces together, but never ever to find them all in one place.

Damn you, Mogwai. Damn the euphoria you brought along with your ascending melodies and reviving bright lights. Now, all I am left is everything without you. Or at least give me the hearing for my left ear back.

* Check out pictures of the concert here.

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9 Responses to “Playing devil’s advocate with Mogwai.”

  1. mista amin Says:

    another good review.
    been following ur review from basket radio.
    nevertheless, mogwai was really awesome.
    but i wish i could hear all of my favourite song since the first album.*sigh*

    nway wats next???
    coldplay in sunburst?
    jason mraz?

    keep on writing!!!

  2. Celeste Says:

    heh. thanks for stalking, and glad you’ve been enjoying the reviews.
    and yes, i am going to jason mraz’s concert, however i’m not gonna put too much hope on this because i think i got pretty crappy seats.
    as for coldplay at sunburst, well, i’ll try to be there. i’ve heard great things about the festival, so i wanna check it out myself.

  3. mista amin Says:

    yeah, ive been stalking u from beginning.
    from ur blog 5am i think, while u were in australia.
    is it the same celeste?
    n a few other blogs that also did mention ur name as the contributor.
    im just another music lover that enjoy good music n good review.
    good review for me is someone that write wats within their heart.
    ive never like a review that too technical which mention wats the gadget the band are using, brand of instrument, bla bla bla.
    the satisfaction of the music itself is the most important thing.

  4. Celeste Says:

    whoa, how did you find your way to 5am? heh. that was aeons ago.
    well thank you. i’m glad you enjoy my reviews, though at times they are quite bullshit. heh.

  5. mista amin Says:

    haha. i think 5am is more of emotion n personal blog while this one is more into professional writing.
    am i right?
    bullshit or not, if its meant something to u,
    u will write it just to express ur own feeling n dont care if anybody will read it or not.
    cheers!!!!!

  6. melati Says:

    one hell of a review… siriously.. urs is the only one i read till the end.. about mogwai of course.. haha..

    great job.. lovin it

  7. Celeste Says:

    heh, thanks 🙂 i’m surprised anyone read till the end.

  8. Andrew Says:

    ‘Cause this music can put a human being in a trance like state and deprive it for the sneaking feeling of existing.’Cause music is bigger than words and wider than pictures. If someone said that Mogwai are the stars I would not object.If the stars had a sound it would sound like this.
    The punishment for these solemn words can be hard. Can blood boil like this at the sound of a noisy tape that I’ve heard.
    I know one thing. On Saturday, the sky will crumble together (or something) with a huge bang to fit into the cave.

    ~~”Yes, I’m a long way from home” Mogwai Young Team

    This song sums up everything that happened that night

  9. detman Says:

    wow. great writing. i’m stupefied.

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