Hey, I reviewed this merry band less than a year ago for Getintothis! They played the Manchester Cathedral on a cold Autumn night, and what a combo that was. You can read all about it here, and even though I lost my job the day after, it wasn’t Low’s fault, nor did it tarnish the general feelings I had from that time. I captured it in a memory capsule just before it was too late, sometimes you need to be ready to do that. Just clamp the good times down.
This time round I caught the band at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds. Not quite the same as the grand cathedral in Manchester, but Brudenell has its own kind of atmosphere, making it easily one of the better venues of the North of England. You really get up close and personal with the bands, and there is a general friendliness that is conveyed through the staff, the cheap drinks, and the fact that the bands often stick around to chat after the show. You don’t need to wait outside for an hour like a freak! It’s great. I once did that with Symphony X once, and I didn’t even like them all that much. Not great.
The reason I’m connecting the two shows is primarily because of the current record. Last year Low were touring with songs from the new album Ones and Sixes, and less than a year later those songs are still the stars of the show. Whilst a guy like Ty Segall might pump out two or three albums a year, Low take their time. Got to soak in that mellowness, because you can’t rush that feeling, oh no.
So they played Ones and Sixes, and this time Alan Sparhawk didn’t flunk the lyrics on ‘What Part of Me’. The band have really grown into these songs, and I’d like to say the songs have grown into the crowd. I stuck the album on my partner’s MP3 player along with a bunch of other stuff, and she was actually humming and softly singing ‘What Part of Me’ when she came home from work not one night, but two! She usually opts for artists like Beyoncé for her commute home, so we can safely say that if you like Beyoncé, you’ll probably like Low! Don’t hold anyone on that though, especially not me.
The show was a double feature, with the band opting to play two sets instead of a support. This allowed for more classics from the past, an experiment from Mimi Parker as she performed a cover of ‘Let’s Stay Together’ to a drum machine, and a Twitter fan request, ‘Murderer’, to end it all. It felt like a show for the fans, like the super fans, though I’m sure the casual observer of Low would have had a great time too.
The actual band/fan interaction is something I want to run off on a miniature tangent on actually. At the shows they interact with us all, like a lot of bands do, but I really love the fact that they even put forward the idea of requests on social media, how they reply to pretty much every Tweet, no matter how inane, and put together these more specialised shows outside of the general support then the band dynamic. At Christmas they are playing Christmas songs at a bunch of churches throughout the UK and Ireland, another gift to us all. Though I’m not allowed to go to that one, boss’s orders.
I think the only thing Low don’t do that the fans crave for with a certain desperation, well I crave it with desperation, is more drone rock. The band have a load of drone based noise throughout their history, yet ‘Pissing’ is the only track that gets played live were we really get to see Alan go crazy on his beautiful guitar. I’m not sure if he pushes his face into the strings, or bites them (maybe I should ask him on Twitter), but it the kind of thing that’s so incredibly appealing about the band, how they can shift into something so fierce. Maybe it’s the boss’s orders, but I would certainly put a lot of money down to see a ‘Drone Not Drones’ tour. I think a chunk of the audience would agree, for there was talk about how Alan’s drones bring forth erections in men who hear them.
Another great show, and I even managed to meet them in person afterwards, nervously babbling about something whilst they signed my CD, and insisted that the ‘All You Fuckin’ Hillbillies Shut The Fuck Up’ t-shirt I was wearing wasn’t meant to be all that offensive to anyone as Sparhawk read it.
‘We’re friends of Mark’ he replied, also saying how he’d love to wear one too.
I guess I was feeling pretty High after that.
The one thing that stuck from the whole night though was the think they said before playing the last song, and how the last song people hear will be the one they remember.
And I guess you can say that about a lot of things.