LOW // TRAMWAY, GLASGOW

Low enrapture a capacity crowd at Glasgow tramway.

LOW PERFORMING AT GLASGOW’S TRAMWAY - 29.01.2019
PICTURE BY: JOHN BROWN PHOTOGRAPHY

★★★★★

Despite the freezing cold the Glasgow Tramway is a buzz with palpable excitement as the crowd gathers to take their seats for indie veterans Low’s first show of their new tour.

They are supported tonight by idiosyncratic solo artist Richard Youngs who is given a warm reception by his home crowd. His strikingly stark folk music sets the mood perfectly for Low, but he is also an engaging presence in his own right.

Over their 25-year career Low have achieved a remarkable consistency and this is illustrated in the set list for tonight’s show, however rightfully they do to choose to focus on songs from last years acclaimed Double Negative. The albums beautiful textures and superb song writing capture feelings of hopelessness and turn them into engaging soundscapes.

They open with Always Up from Double Negative, it encapsulates many of the great features of Low’s music it’s meandering pace creates a moody atmosphere that serves to highlight the beautiful vocal work of the drummer and co-vocalist Mimi Parker. This is followed by Quorum and the band do an excellent job of replicating the recorded version vocal loops and dissonance.

The compulsive strut of No Comprende is next as Low begin to dig in to their back catalogue. The light show is tailor made for the performance stage at the Tramway. Low perform in front of three bright reflective screens that have been carefully choregraphed to coincide with the bands performance showing train journeys and frantic light work to people dancing and grizzly static during the climax of Do You Know How to Waltz.

Do You Know How to Waltz is a dark piece of music that consists primarily of guitar feedback. From a quiet hymn like intro the droning distortion kicks in and sends shivers up the spine, as it continues it conveys an air of desperation and this captivates the audience. This followed by the similar dour but also absorbing Lazy from Low’s debut album I Could Live in Hope.

Darkness is not the centre of all of Low’s songs. Thematically, they do generally involve conveying intense emotions. Tempo wise most of Low’s music is at a slow pace, this allows the band to easily achieve a cohesive sound throughout their performance. Their live performance is made dynamic by the guitar work from the other co vocalist Alan Sparhawk which is more distorted and looser than on record. The gentle touches from Mimi’s small drum set (which appears to be nothing more than a snare drum, two cymbals and a tom) keeps the songs propulsive and allows for delicate flourishes.

The best moments in this flawless set are the combination of the two vocalists. Mimi’s delicate high voice combines perfectly with Alan’s slightly plainer vocals together they can convey the tranquil sound of beauty or the devastation of heart break.

The power of the duo vocalists is portrayed when Low finish with a well-deserved encore. Sunflowers is another highpoint, with its bittersweet line regarding buying sunflowers with ransom money and allusions to a dying body. This bitter sweetness is disguised with a delightful melody and haunting vocals. It makes for a perfect close to the set as it showcases Low’s ability to veer between darkness and light.

Low exit the stage to thunderous applause and a standing ovation. This spellbinding set shows Low not only to be one of the indie rock world’s most consistent and but also one of the most brilliant.

SETLIST: | LOW : TRAMWAY, GLASGOW - 29.01.2019

  • Always Up

  • Quorum

  • No Comprende

  • Plastic Cup

  • The Innocents

  • Tempest

  • Do You Know How to Waltz?

  • Lazy

  • Dancing and Blood

  • Always Trying to Work It Out

  • Poor Sucker

  • Especially Me

  • Lies

  • Fly

  • Dancing and Fire

  • Disarray

ENCORE:

  • Sunflower

LOW | UPCOMING TOUR DATES:

REVIEW BY: BEN LAMONT
PHOTOS BY: JOHN BROWN PHOTOGRAPHY

The Modern Record