Gig review: Low, Glasgow

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“SOMEONE silence that t**t!” barked the grumpy voice of one man evidently not enamoured by another, well-oiled punter’s irregular roaring outbursts of appreciation for Low.


Classic Grand, Glasgow

* * * *

There’s an unspoken agreement about how to enjoy the famously slow, minimalist and sometimes very quiet sounds of this Duluth, Minnesota indie trio live – during songs at least – and that’s unspokenly.

It was hardly a sensible booking, then, to put them on at Classic Grand while noisy punk covers bands played downstairs. Singer and guitarist Alan Sparkhawk – one half of Low’s husband-and-wife core together with drummer/co-vocalist Mimi Parker – tried his best to make light of an irksome situation. “I’ve heard The Sex Pistols and The Undertones so far,” he joked dryly, before later leading the crowd through an unlikely sing-along to Talking Heads’ Psycho Killer, mimicking another sound bleeding through the floor.

Whatever rumbled from below, there was no extinguishing the sorrowful majesty of a set heavily skewed towards Low’s typically excellent new album The Invisible Way. Sung bewitchingly by Parker over Sparhawk’s spectral electric guitar, Holy Ghost framed Low’s mastery of spare intensity, though it was when the pair’s eerily sympathetic voices interlocked – during The Velvet Underground-y driving thrum of Just Make It Stop in particular – that the hairs on the back of the neck really stood to attention.

All visually accompanied by flickering vintage Super 8 film footage of beaches, skies and old motorcars cutting along empty roads projected onto the band as they played, this was at times overwhelmingly sad and pretty stuff. A root through the Low back-catalogue at the close produced the clenched drama of Walk Into The Sea, and an appropriately sleepy farewell in I Hear... Goodnight.