Read: Get Low – Live at Brighton Music Hall, 9/23/15

Low live at Brighton Music Hall. Photo courtesy Joel Spielberger

Low live at Brighton Music Hall. Photo courtesy Joel Spielberger

 

Low, a three-piece band from the plains of Minnesota, played the Brighton Music Hall on September 23rd as a part of their tour in promotion of their latest album, Ones and Sixes. Low has been around since 1993, that’s a year longer than I’ve been alive. Prior to the show, I had only listened to their first album I Could Live In Hope, (listened to obsessively I might add), and assumed the show’s ambience would mimic that album; gloomy, bass heavy, and haunting.

As a lead up to their entrance, the venue put a ten minute timer on the projection screen. By the thirty-second mark, the entire venue, which had become surprisingly full, was counting down out loud. By t-minus 0, Low had come on the stage, and without a word started playing, “No Comprende.” With rich bass and a syncopated but constant drum line, Low had completely inhabited the venue with their sound, and all in one measure.

After captivating the packed audience with their first tune, Low played “Plastic Cup,” a single from their 2013 album, The Invisible Way. “Plastic Cup” slowed down the pace of the show with its use of married vocals by Mimi Parker and Sparhawk, but it also set up the format of an enjoyable set list that alternated between fast and slow. Low mainly played songs from Ones and Sixes, but they left room for other memorable songs like “Canada” and “Holy Ghost.”

In terms of visuals, Low definitely stuck to their minimalist roots. There was a projector that played vaguely vintage-looking footage on drummer Mimi Parker and the screen behind her. Low existed in the space so well with their music, that the visuals (which were completely unrelated to whatever song or mood they conveyed) felt like they came from another band’s show.

In a funny, but very telling coincidence, the last song played was their first ever released song, “Words”, from the seminal, I Could Live In Hope. The reason this was played was not because of Sparhawk and Parker’s self-reverence, but because in a rare moment of candidness the band had opened up to suggestions. A couple of people shouted out “Words!”, and then a few more people did, until there, a plurality of the crowd (including myself) was crying out for the song. Sparhawk seemed surprised, and more than a little flattered that his first record would be the first thing on his audience’s mind, but it really speaks to how well Low’s music holds up against time. They played “Words” but the performance’s quality suffered, as they hadn’t played it live in quite a while. Sparhawk missed a couple beats and the guitar hadn’t been tuned to that perfectly haunting pitch which had caught me so emotionally off guard the first time I had heard it.

Although they ended it on a whimper, Low proved that they were still the slowcore powerhouse butterflies that had emerged from their cocoon years, if not at least a decade, before.