When The Cure were announced for this year’s Summer Sessions in Glasgow, it was a no brainer. Probably the only band on The List I had yet to see, and only a couple of months after sharing oxygen with Nick Cave, I’d be continuing my summer of goth heaven.
If The Cure are in Glasgow, they were always going to bring along their opening act of choice, the beautiful The Twilight Sad. Stick in Mogwai as the filling in that dark sarnie and this could be the gig of the year.
Its wet underfoot and my cheap wellies are fucked before I’ve shown my ticket. We arrive at the VIP tent (I’m not usually a ticket ponce but I’m at an age where I do put an acceptable price on a semi-decent lav) with enough time to get an overpriced shite cider and position ourselves middle and frontish for The Twilight Sad.
This is a good year for these boys, a new critically-acclaimed and (scottish) chart topping album, US and UK tour, Europe and their first jaunt to Asia still to come. James Graham is clearly overwhelmed at the size of this crowd, who aren’t just here for the headliners. All around me are arms and voices, their cover of Frightened Rabbit’s ‘Keep Yourself Warm’ being sung back at them with the heart and soul you’d expect from a home audience. It’s pointless trying to hold tears back, James doesn’t. A stunning ‘Cold Days From The Birdhouse and they are off… the rabbit won’t ever die.
For all the times I’ve seen Mogwai, I’ve never seen them at a festival and never outdoors. Two small concerns pre gig.. 1) will their gargantuan noise be lost and 2) surely a 50 minute set is two songs. Thankfully I was wrong about the latter and we are treated to favourites old and new, including ‘Party in the Dark’ and ‘I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead’. There are few words to describe the love I have for this band, who have been wrecking my ears since 1996, but words are academic to the heavens opening right in the middle of Rave Tapes’ ‘Remurdered’.
It was pissing down and it was perfect – arms aloft, already shit cider being topped up with scottish rainwater. They end what felt like a much longer set with ‘Mogwai Fear Satan’, overlooked by a skyward rainbow, and some faces less familiar with their beautiful racket wondering what the fuck just happened. Delightful.
The Cure. Its nearly 8.30pm and here they come, slipping into ‘Plainsong’ like a comfy pair of (black) slippers. Simon Gallup prowls the stage in jeans about as wide as my ring finger, bass still slinging low as they dive into ‘Pictures of You’. The band hasn’t changed a bit, Smith still sounds the same as he did 30 years ago and musically they are family: tighter than the arse pockets on Gallup’s aforementioned jeans.
They’re giving hits but they’re not doing a best of set, testament to their hall-of-famous back catalogue. ‘Burn’ is without doubt my highlight of their set and I’m a bit grateful to the Glastonbury footage for the forewarning. ‘Just Like Heaven’, ‘Inbetween Days’, ‘A Forest’… they keep coming and it seems Scotland’s 27 year wait has more than paid off.
Robert said we should do it again. I agree.
Words by Lisa Whiteman