Steve Dixon and I drove around Bristol trying to find parking for the Low gig last night. Boy, we know the roundabout by The Exchange well by the end of the night. My fault, I thought my gig kemosabe - who was kind enough to drive us there - knew the way. I only know the way from The Exchange, so my directions were a bit scrappy do. Eventually we did and got into the Trinity in time to see the final song from the support band, buy a beer and do the first sweep of the merch’ table.
Low’s set consisted very heavily of songs from their new album ‘Double Negative’ (did they play the whole album?), which is no bad thing. ‘Double Negative’ is pretty experimental with the actual sound of the songs, to the extent that the first time I played it I did check my stylus. It was great to hear the songs stripped of the effects and they really soared, filling up every corner of the church. They also settled into two extended bouts of guitar drone, similar to the ‘guitar armageddon’ that My Bloody Valentine used to close their sets with, but at a less ear threatening volume. I’d accuse most bands of being self indulgent at this point but Low last night weren’t doing it for effect, they were being artistically uncompromising, yes they were. I got the same feeling listening to the drone as I do when I’m looking at a Rothko painting. It filled my soul with joy.
Alan Sparhawk barely spoke to the audience for the first half, then when he did someone started screaming at the crowd. I have no idea why or what she was screaming about. Sparhawk was - understandably - freaked out and kept asking “Is everyone…cool?” Things seemed to settle down, but it was all very weird. Sparhawk recovered and was quite chatty after, even updating the audience on how his kids were doing, and how one had gone to art college. He seemed to be almost justifying the price of the gig ticket (which was a bit spicy) but fuck it, they’re Low. I’d see them every week if I could. Mimi did say ‘Is it Monday right?’ to which a wag in audience replied “Welcome to Bristol.”
They did pull some older songs out of the bags, particular highlights being ‘Murderer’ and ‘Pissing’. Low can play whatever they want, but I always hope for ‘When I Go Deaf’ but the one time I heard them do it live I blubbed like a baby, so probably best they didn’t.