Low @ Øya Natt
John Dee, Oslo on 10th August 2007
Reviewed by Andreas on 11th August 2007
A wave of intense heat is the first thing that hits me as I enter the venue. Some clever person has admitted about twice the number of people tonight, and lord, don't you know it. I find a space roughly between some sweaty fat guy, a tiny woman who throughout the concert tries to knock me in the knackers, and another fat guy. It's approaching midnight, but the horrible atmosphere evaporates as Low enter the stage.
Low might be the only band that can get a predominantly festival-going crowd to be quiet. Some of it might be the fact that their instruments are turned way down compared to other concerts, but I like to think that everyone else was as struck by Low as I was.
Tonight was all about their latest album, "Drums and Guns". From the very beginning, Low demonstrate how their (sometimes) geography related songwriting is amongst the strongest you can find these days. Songs like "Belarus", the softly sung "Dragonfly" and the punch of "In Silence" have the audience transfixed. Transfixed and sweating more than is natural. Singer Alan Sparhawk seems to be unaffected, and the band tear through their hour long set.
Older songs make brief appearances amongst the like of "Hatchet" and song-with-the-weirdest-video-involving-cake, "Breaker". Drowning themselves in distortion, the band play a muddy version of "Silver Rider" that only shines in the last minute. For a short time it does seem as if the band's losing their grip on things. "California" falls flat, and "Sandistina" doesn't patch things up.
Low, however, are a lucky band. They have that special something. It rarely appears, but when it does it's something to admire. That special something tonight is "Murderer", a song consisting of three chords and about as many lyrics. Despite the minimalism, it is far from simple. It may in fact be one of the most complex songs you can pick, given the strange element of slap-in-the-face-goodness. "You might need a murderer", they sing ever so well, "someone to do your dirty work". I won't even begin to analyse the song. I'll just say that it's a beautiful song, and the performance was even more so. As the crescendo came, everyone was quiet, and even the bartenders stopped up to listen. After that it doesn't really matter what songs they played.
All in all, Low played well, and displayed strengths beyond what you can experience with a record.
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