Day one is over! It was loud!
But first, where there are parties, there is Byron Beck. Here are his shots from the Spectre Entertainment MFNW pre-party last night (on the second floor of the Goldsmith building):
And now, the MFNW diaries. Contributors are Michael Mannheimer, David Robinson (the new British music intern), Kelly Clarke, Aaron Mesh and Casey Jarman.
9:33 pm, Wednesday, Sept. 3. Outside Berbati's Pan:
Damn, there's a long-ass line just to get into Berbati's. I'd say at least 50 people are waiting, stretched around the side alley way past Valentine's. I think we might see just a bit of griping this from disgruntled festivalgoers this weekend...(MM)
10:02 pm, Wednesday, Sept. 3. Berbati's:
Someone sure has a crush on Britt Daniel. In the half hour I've been inside at least half the songs they've played over the PA are Spoon songs. As Norfolk & Western take the stage (in front of a giant, red SPIN banner), Adam Selzer notices the same thing. “We've always wanted to open for Spoon. This is fun!” (MM)
10.06 pm, Wednesday, September 3rd. 1 block from the Roseland Theater.
Feeling highly self-satisfied as I approach the Roseland: managed to eat myself silly at a late dinner with visiting parentals and still depart with plenty of time to allow my wristbanded self to get into the Mogwai show - as clearly evidenced by the almost-total lack of a line outside… (DR)
10.07 pm, Wednesday, September 3rd. 1 block the other side of the Roseland Theater.
So, turns out they line up down the other side of the Roseland Theater, I see. All the way down that side, as it happens. Still, at least 23 minutes ‘til Mogwai plays, so ‘head up, son', as they'd likely say back in Blighty. (DR)
10:21 pm, Wednesday, Sept. 3. Berbati's:
I lose it for a bit when Adam Selzer really starts to shred on his guitar, conducting coils of feedback that add an extra nice punch to “The Gilded Age,” which still might be N&W's best song. It's like during one of the quieter Yo La Tengo shows when they hit a particularly passive and pretty set and you can just see it in Ira Kaplan's eyes when he's about to wail. Also, Dave Depper is rocking a nice short haircut. It's that time of year, ya know. (MM)
10:32 pm, Wednesday, Sept. 3. Walking out of Berbati's:
M. Ward strides into Berbati's just as I'm walking out. Ugh. And to think I might have introduced myself! Yeah fucking right. (MM)
10.43pm, Wednesday, September 3rd. 1/2 block from the Roseland Theater.
Band's already through a couple of songs, and security has just announced that the venue's at capacity and no more red wristbanded wonders will be admitted tonight. Shite. Really?! The line dissipates quickly so I move up close to the doors to check for any vague signs of hope. (DR)
10.56 pm. Roseland Theater.
This Mogwai light show is physically painful. Even when I close my eyes I feel like I'm being abducted by really rude aliens. But the bright flashes are on beat, which is cool. (CJ)
10.56 pm, Wednesday, September 3rd. 1 block from the Roseland Theater.
Apparently the many curfew-kiddies starting to stagger out the show with hands over their ears means that (a) Mogwai still play as painfully loud as they did when I last saw them 7 years ago, and (b) security has changed its mind, as the doors have opened up again and I'm beckoned in. (DR)
11:03 pm, Wednesday, Sept. 3. Roseland:
It took me about a half hour for Mogwai's set to hit, but as they tear into “Hunted By a Freak” it starts to make sense. The guy next to me with dreads and a cut-off tee agrees: he lights his joint, lifts both fists in the air and yells “epic shit, mannnnnn.” And he's totally right. (MM)
11:03 pm, Wednesday, Sept. 3. Roseland:
Two valley girl types are leaving the Mogwai show, on their way to the Old 97s. "I don't know how they got so popular without a lead singer," one says. Her friend replies, "People go all apeshit over stuff that's different." "Yeah," says the first girl. "But they're not that different." Philistines on the sidewalk. (AM)
Mogwai (photos by Arian Stevens)
11.26 pm, Wednesday, September 3rd. Inside the Roseland Theater.
Mogwai has just crushed me with the ever-stunning “Ex-Cowboy”, so I relocate to the bar to celebrate with a bevvie and figure out if my ears might still function at all. Proceed to be entertained by the girl in front of me shaking her booty to post-rock in a wildly innovative and highly inappropriate manner. Decide to stick around for further bevvies… (DR)
11:52 pm, Wednesday, Sept. 3. Roseland:
Mogwai close with the 18-minute long “Like Herod,” aka the song that starts off all gentle atmospherics and slow-motion guitars before suddenly erupting into the loudest three-guitar assault I've ever heard. About four minutes in, as it creeps to a halt, the crowd is “sssshhhhhing” everyone and one dude is literally shouting for people to shut up. I close my eyes and can almost feel my skin peeling off. (MM)
12:06 am, Thursday, Sept. 4. Roseland:
Fuck my ears. (MM)
12:23 am, Thursday, Sept. 4. Berbati's:
The bass player for Old 97s is rocking some serious Harry Potter glasses. (MM)
Old 97s (photos by Jeff Walls)
12:48 am, Berbati's Pan:
Longtime Texas country rockers Old 97's are flip-flopping between sweaty, rollicking renditions of their early bar band classics and the tight—arguably blander—pop of their latter records. Some members of the crowd whoop with joy while early fans groan as frontman Rhett Miller, he of the matinee idol smile and windmilling arms, croons and sways through "Question," a sweet, pop-the-question ballad that's been used as an anthem for dudes proposing to their girlfriends during baseball games since 2001. "It's nice to know that no matter how weird Portland gets, you're still romantics at heart," sighs Miller, his button down shirt soaked through with sweat. Not romantic, Rhett. Nostalgic. (KC)
1:32 am, Thursday, Sept. 4. Berbati's:
Old 97s finish with a fury, the never-ending encore closing with a penultimate Beatles cover (not sure about this, but it sure sounded like the fab four) and a song dedicated to their friend and musician who was murdered a year to the day. (MM)
And some more photos:
Xavier Rudd (photos by Inger Klekacz)
To read about who's playing, go here