“Thanks a lot for coming out. Last time we were supposed to play here, it got cancelled because the ceiling was going to fall in. Don’t worry,” joked Low leader Alan Sparhawk as the band returned to the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles. He certainly captured the modest crowd’s attention after reassuring them that it had been fixed since the group’s previous visit to the venue. This performance rounded out the quartet’s five-date headlining tour with singer-songwriter Bachelorette.
Sparhawk dove right into an epic guitar intro for “Nothing But Heart,” a track from the band’s ninth studio album C’mon. Without hesitation, they then blended in “Hand So Small” and “You See Everything,” which highlighted the soft, melodic voice of drummer and vocalist Mimi Parker. The majority of Low’s jam session centered on exposing C’mon and all it had to offer. After they introduced the crowd to some of their new tracks, Low took it back to The Great Destroyer with the twinkly “Try to Sleep” and heavy pangs of “Monkey.”
After 18 years of creating music together, Low have cultivated a respect for a higher essence, emphasizing a spiritual quality in many of their songs. Accordingly, they recorded C’mon in an old Catholic church. They hoped to recreate the vibe of the church’s echo, space, and significance live. Keeping in mind that they had plenty of fresh material to work with, they undeniably gave the fans something to smile about. Low was nothing less than hypnotic as they played. The combination of Sparhawk and Parker’s voices was palpable to say the least, and the audience watched in awe as both harmonized to the point at which their voices created a wall of sound. Their best harmonies of the night stemmed from “Silver Rider,” and by the end of the song, their voices almost blended into one. Parker’s voice vibrated through the theatre. She kept up the momentum as she whipped through “Especially Me” and “Sunflower.” With or without the echo effect, her voice owned every song she sang.
Low’s sound evolved into its heaviest part of the night in “Majesty/Magic” and “Murderer.” The slow and steady build of each song added anticipation for a big finish. Still, no show would be complete without an encore. After begrudgingly leaving the stage, the quartet eagerly returned to end the show with four more songs. Even though Sparhawk announced that he “really hated” the spectacle of walking on and off stage at the end of every show, he admitted, “that’s how it goes.” A fan yelled, “Do you take requests?” Sparhawk exclaimed “Hell yeah,” and petitioned the audience for song requests. With such an intimate setting, it was easy for him to hear the cries of the die-hard fans, but he rejected all of their questions when he said “Well no one requested this one.” Before the crowd could even finish laughing, the band broke in to its final songs “Last Snowstorm of the Year,” “Dinosaur Act,” and “When I Go Deaf.” Low graciously waved goodbye to the audience, leaving them with the assurance that they will see them again soon. Here’s hoping the ceiling stays intact until then.