Live – On The Down, Low

The quiet alley behind my apartment yields to many surprises. From rats with French accents to Zwan video shoots to a drunken Cubs fan taking a dump on my doorstep. Looming above this notorious alley is the vibrating monolith known as the Metro. Keeping it on the down, Low brought their melancholy sound to Chicago in support of their latest album The Great Destroyer.

At the request of the band, Low fans were treated to a smoke-free environment.  Fellow smokers had to revert to their high schools days by hunkering down in the bathroom to sneak a couple puffs before security chased us out. Oh well, there was good music to be had. 

Known for their exploration and embrace of an ultra mellow sound, Low took a small step away from their basics on The Great Destroyer by elevating their beats with specialty radio friendly and sometimes, God forbid, upbeat riffs. The Great Destroyer has been in good rotation lately, shooting up to #3 on the benevolent Tripwire Chart.

Low set the tone of the evening with a loud “Monkey” followed by a toe tapping Guided By Voices-esque “California”. Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker share vocals while Zak Sally mediates with bass. Low did not ride that dynamic path for long and turned the volume down during “(that’s how you sing) amazing grace”. When Mimi Parker took the mic from behind the drums, the audience was hooked. Fans hung in awe under her poignant vocal accents that could stitch together a new generation of lullabies.

Alan Sparhawk paid tribute to the late playwright Arthur Miller with the acoustic song “Death of a Salesman” - a song about diluted musical ambitions that are consoled in the end by the love of a woman. 

Over the course of the night, the crowd was rocked into a trance with the “Low” sound they have come to love, but they were perked up with the new collection of songs. Whether high or low, the audience was captivated from beginning to end. Alan, Mimi, and Zak have a great dynamic on stage and have a command over a smoke-free mood. If you are planning on heading to the show, don’t forget to pack your chaw of choice!

Source: Brian Balok

Live – On The Down, Low