Words by: Trish Connelly
Photography: Raphael Umscheid
Despite my belated discovery of Low’s music, their album Things We Lost in the Fire defined a significant portion of my college years. More often than not I’d put “Sunflower” and “Dinosaur Act” on repeat, the soundtrack to my solitary Sunday nights. This past Tuesday, I found myself front and center for their An Evening With show at The Parish in Austin, Texas. A hush ran through the crowd as soon as they graced the stage, guitarist and vocalist Sparhawk’s voice blending effortlessly and magnificently with drummer Mimi Parker’s falsetto. Throughout the first half of their set the band played audience favorites from “On My Own” to recent tracks off their latest record, Ones and Sixes. Sprawled across the projector were visions of nature, exploring limitless depths of snow-covered trees, mountains, and blazing sunsets within the confines of The Parish’s inner walls. The added textures only amplified Low’s already multiple layers of melancholic word and sound, stretching their subdued presence into something much more personal and introspective. The band parted for a brief intermission for the crowd to mingle before continuing with their two-hour set.
The second half of their performance had more of an edge to it, playing heavier songs like “Canada” and “Landslide”, yet pleasantly juxtaposed with the band’s cover of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” and earlier songs near and dear to my heart like “Sunflower” and their closing song, “2-Step”. Low isn’t a band to prattle on in between songs, rather they keep their focus on the music and choose their words wisely. After several thank yous to the audience, Sparhawk mentioned that he realizes the more he says [thank you] the more it loses its meaning, yet his sincerity to his fans never rang more true in such few words. From their genuine live performance to handling their own merch booth post-show and meeting and greeting with attendees, Low brought their audience to a spiritual and reflective realm while maintaining a humble presence. Sparhawk commented on Sub Pop Records’ website concerning the band’s new album and his twenty plus years of songwriting, expressing that he’s learned “no matter how escapist, divergent, or even transcendent the creative process feels, the result is more beholden to what is going on at the moment.” Low’s performance instantly connected me to the present; it allowed me to fully embrace their aural bliss and to hold on to that feeling tight. It was mine, and mine alone, and for that I am grateful.
Trish Connelly is the Austin-based guru who does booking and promoting at Cheer Up Charlies under The Nothing Song. She’s always down to collaborate and plan a show or event in town. She’s an expert with mixtapes (for all musicians out there you’ll want to send her your stuff!), and making connections with the cool kids. She may have a tad obsession with comics and Corgies, but she keeps it under control. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.