Mogwai in México by Barry from Mogwai

Text: Barry Burns Photographs: Toni François Spanish Version, Click Here Mogwai visited Mexico to offer a couple of shows in Guadalajara and Mexico City. We could write any details about the setlists, talk about laws, write about if the sound was good enough, etcetera. But this time, we decided to ask another one to help […]

Text: Barry Burns
Photographs: Toni François
Spanish Version, Click Here

Mogwai visited Mexico to offer a couple of shows in Guadalajara and Mexico City. We could write any details about the setlists, talk about laws, write about if the sound was good enough, etcetera. But this time, we decided to ask another one to help us with a different review. Ladies & gentlemen, Barry Burns from Mogwai writes his own review about his trip down to Mexico. Unedited.

Here’s what happened on our trip to Mexico.

It started off with a painfully early flight from Glasgow to Amsterdam then from Amsterdam to Mexico City and then straight from there to Guadalajara airport, all in the luxury of…um…economy class. It’s the good life for us huge rock stars.

We get to Guadalajara with only 1 piece of luggage gone missing (quite good!) and meet up with Hector Mijangos, our dear friend, promoter and record company boss. This man is a fashion icon in my opinion and I would quite like to look like him. We go to the hotel after some of the boys smoke cigarettes and the journey takes about an hour. We later find out that every single car/van journey takes an hour, anywhere in Mexico, due to the traffic problems.

So we dump our stuff in the hotel and Hector takes us to a restaurant which is closed, it’s already 11:30p.m. We eventually go to a place called Karne Garibaldi which apparently has the fastest service around. I order my food at 11:45 and it arrives at 11:44. Zoom. It was a kind of beefy soup and was awesome. Along with it comes all the sauces you get in Mexico like the tomatillo and tomato salsas. I love that shit. The rest of the boys get the same stuff and the vegetarians (who I feel sorry for in Mexico) get grilled cheese. This is basically what Stuart will eat for the rest of the trip along with Refritos and salsa.

Next day we get ready for the first show we’ve played in a while.

We go to soundcheck and eat some amazing pork sandwiches but I cannot remember the name. You smother them in chili and tomato sauce. I had 2 of these local delicacies. It’s all about the food for me when I go to play in foreign countries. Some people like Museums, I like to eat. We have to practise the whole setlist and then again because we are so out-of-shape musically. After soundcheck Hector takes us to dinner and we all have things like chicken with mole sauce and loads of tacos. Guess what the vegetarians eat? Yip. Cheese with cheese sauce covered with cheese.

They have some cheese beer. I have some Tequila and a few beers and then I realise I am drunk and stop drinking alcohol. Once we get back to the venue, they have put more plates of cheese and meat in the dressing room but John and I decide it would be a waste of food if nobody eats it so we go out into the audience and offer people food, like waiters. Weirdly, some people think we are Mexican (I am so white that I am almost transparent) and ask me questions, I say something like No Habla Espanol or something and then they understand that I might be Scottish or something. It caused great confusion but it was good fun.

So we play the show and in my opinion we were extremely bad. Not Michael Jackson “Bad”, more like George Bush “Bad”. The guitars are all a bit fucked too so they don’t stay in tune. We get an encore (though I do not know why!) and John runs onto the stage, tripping and falling over the drum-riser to a huge cheer from the Guadalajaran’s. This is the highlight of the night because the last song is terrible. Oh well. You live and learn.

On the drive home to the hotel it rains the heaviest rain we have ever seen in our lives. There is thunder and lightning every 3 seconds and we are like children, scared and excited. The roads are completely like rivers and all the drains/sewers are like fountains. I don’t think when people first came to Mexico from Europe that they came during the rainy season! They would have gone home very quickly!

Next day we get up for the short flight to Mexico City and a day off. We get to the hotel and decide to just stay in all day and drink. I went down to get lunch in the hotel and I ordered a fish dish. What came was extremely funny. It was fish with what looked and smelled like melted strawberry ice cream sauce with Poblano chilis. I kept trying to look at the waiter to see if he was laughing when I put it in my mouth to see if the chef was playing a joke on the silly tourist. But no. It seems like people in Mexico City like to eat strawberry fish. Very amusing.

I guess I should really go out and see some of the city but I am a lazy bastard and instead John, Ozzy (our guitar tech) and I just drink in John’s hotel room and listen to our iPod’s on the little iPod stereo that the hotel has provided in each room (a nice touch, but more about that later).

It gets to dinner time and Hector takes us to another place which is called the “Golden Lion” or something like that and this takes us about an hour to get to. We tell him to order some meat but what arrives on the table is not really called “meat” in Scotland. It’s…….it’s basically……a fucking pig’s actual face and fuck knows what else. Maybe kidneys, liver. Oh man, you can see the hairs on it’s nose. God. I politely ask for some chicken tacos. John eats some “face” and then looks very, very sick. He doesn’t want to party tonight and decides to go home with the others. Ozzy and I go back to a party near Noiselab offices and meet very nice people who speak good English (in fact one of them used to live in an area of Glasgow where my wife and I used to live. It’s a small world).

We stay up for a while then get too drunk and have to go to the hotel. I manage to brush my teeth while drunk. So, next day I fancy a quick swim so I phone reception…

Me: Hi, do you speak English?
Woman: Yis.
Me: Where is the swimming pool in the hotel?
Woman: Yis.
Me: Hmmm. Okay, is there a pool in the hotel?
Woman: White plees.
Me: Ok thanks.
Man: Hello, can I help?
Me: Yeah, where is the swimming pool in the hotel?
Man: You have a problem with your internet connection?
Me: Hahaha! No. Er… is there a swimming pool here?
Man: No, there is a business centre.
Me: Oh, ok. (I wonder if I can go swimming in the business centre…) Thanks, bye!
Man: Okay, bye.

Now we have to go to soundcheck (which takes an hour to get to) and I think some of the band have stomach troubles because we’re not used to the water or something. My stomach is like Steel so I feel fine. The venue is quite big and looks nice. We do some interviews and photos with Mexican press and TV and then the soundcheck goes really well. It’s better than Guadalajara for sound. Afterwards, as always, Hector takes us for dinner. We all have stuff like enchilladas and soup. Nice Mexican food. Of course, the vegetarians have their cheese and beans. Poor bastards.

We meet up with Austin TV who played with us the last time in M.C. And I remember they were dressed up as bunny rabbits and stuff. They were very good and I’m looking forward to seeing them play. I’m told by them that they dress up kinda like trees now because they recorded their last album in a forest, which sounds quite similar to what we did for our album “Come On Die Young” in upstate New York.

We watch them play and the crowd really like them too. The drummer’s mask is absolutely awesome. More bands need to wear masks. Maybe if Mogwai had masks from the beginning then people might think we were handsome underneath… but we’re not. Never mind. Ugly Scottish creatures.

So it’s our turn to play now. And it’s much better than the other night. We played most of the show really well and it’s nice to get back into it again. We probably should hae played an encore because the crowd were singing “Mogwai! Mogwai!” at the end but we are trying not to do them anymore. Now we just play a little longer instead.

So, afterwards we meet some people who won a competition and they are all really nice folks. No one tried to kill us with dangerous knives, which was very kind. We had an early flight the next day and it’s all the way to Calgary in Canada so we decide to just have a few drinks and go to bed. Someone phones my hotel room at about 4 a.m. And I am scared. I just look at the phone, ringing, and I almost have a mental breakdown because I am so confused and tired. I just keep looking at it, thinking, “Please Please Please STOP MAKING THIS NOISE arghhhhhhhhh” and it finally does. And remember the iPod stereo in every hotel room? Well, some absolute dickhead and his girlfriend are in the room next door to mine, at 7:30 in the morning playing Madonna songs at full volume and singing along with it. I have to bang on the wall with my hand but this doesn’t work so I phone reception and a woman answers:

Me: (Tired and annoyed) Do you speak English?
Woman: Yis.
Me: There are people playing very loud music in the next room. Please send someone up to tell them to stop. Woman: OK. Bye.

20 Minutes Later when I realise that the woman did not understand a word I said. Still No One Comes. So I phone again. A man answers and he seems to understand so about a minute later I hear him knocking their door and the music quickly is turned down in volume, but not turned off. Why the hell are they playing music so loud at this time in the morning. I think, Cocaine? Maybe.

Anyway, we all get into the bus and realise there are not enough seats for everyone so Ozzy has to sit on the floor. Then the driver says, “We forgot to bring the girl from Noiselab, we must go back” but Simon, our Tour Manager, just gets a bit annoyed and says, “Where will they sit??? We already have one person too many, tell them to take a cab!” We all start laughing. Crazy.

So we get to the airport and do not look forward to flying for a long time, especially as we have to stop over in Houston (shithole) in the USA (shithole) and have to deal with their stupid immigration and customs even though we are only in Transit to Canada (not Shithole).

It’s been a fun trip to Mexico and we hope we can play more places next time. I think Martin and Dominic had tummy troubles so they didn’t enjoy it as much as we did which is a shame but next time, I’m sure we’ll all be fine. And better at playing these songs!

Ok, bye for now.

Background