Low - Brudenell Social Club Leeds, UK - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Low - Brudenell Social Club Leeds, UK

by Andy Brown Rating:10 Release Date:2012-09-16

After a thoroughly shite day at work and weather that makes it feel like you’re in a particularly wintery episode of Game of Thrones; nothing beats walking through the doors at the Brudenell Social Club. Tonight Alan Sparhawk, Mimi Parker and Steve Garrington bring their uniquely beautiful song-craft to the, frankly spoilt rotten, Brudenell crowd.  

First up we get a set from London based solo artist Barbarossa, aka James Mathé. Stood in a Low t-shirt behind a synthesiser Mathé creates rather gorgeous minimalist pop songs. Constructed from gentle electronic melodies, beats and Mathé’s calmly emotive voice these songs are quietly persuasive, holding the Brudenell crowd in their melancholic charms. Barbarossa has a casual and unassuming stage manner that makes these lilting pop nuggets seem all the more effortless. There are shades of Casiotone for the Painfully Alone and even Low themselves circa the more electronic Drums & Guns LP. He’s releasing a new LP called Bloodlines soon; I think it’ll be worth a look. 

Minnesota’s Low have been going for twenty-years now and hold a pretty special place in my heart. They start tonight with a particularly haunting version of ‘Sandinista’, immediately throwing the crowd into a kind of hypnotised sense of awe. There really aren’t two voices that sound better together than that of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker. This is followed by new album opener, ‘Plastic Cup’ and Sparhawk’s lyrical suggestion, “well maybe you should go out and write your own damn song. And move on”.  The set is reasonably heavy with material from The Invisible Way and despite that album leaving less of an imprint than previous releases, live these songs absolutely sore.

We get a majestic ‘Silver Rider’ and a fantastically brooding ‘Monkey’ from the The Great Destroyer LP and even the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and applaud. The Parker sung, ‘Especially Me’ brings yet another powerful performance while ‘Nightingale’ is imbued with a heartfelt tenderness that’s hard to ignore. Low really have got a knack for those special moments and twenty-years doesn’t seem to have dimmed their passion.  

Low are well known for their slowly paced song-craft but that doesn’t mean their always quiet, with the wonderful ‘Nothing but Heart’ exploding into a scrambled guitar riff towards the end. This sense of quietly building tension and release runs through many of Low’s finest moments. ‘Murderer’ still seethes and builds like nothing else while tonight’s rendition of ‘Pissing’ is truly stunning.  Sparhawk’s guitar part is hypnotic and still unexpectedly loud as he sings the crestfallen assertion that, “lovers sleep alone”.  And, Sparhawk can really sing.

The encore brings many shout-outs for fan favourites (Sparhawk joking that “this is why democracy doesn’t work”) before they choose Trust classic ‘Canada’. Another example of Low sometimes being much louder than they’re described; ‘Canada’ really does rock. They finish with a heartbreakingly beautiful version of ‘Two Step’ and then their gone. On the way out I hear someone say, “They do so much with so little”. In a way, this sums up the Low sound. The trick is that they make it look so easy. 






Comments (5)

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they were amazing at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral too - they even played my 'request' for 'Starfire' too - just magical!

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their always awesome aren't they. Just a really fantastic band!

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How can you resist Richard with that charming smile of his?

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Maybe we should run a competition to design an album cover for this lost album?

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You'd probably win though, Bob

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