My Latest NovelEdit this event
After a ‘rock’ album that stood at a contrast to their earlier materials and the loss of original bassist Zak Sally, combined with vocalist Alan Sparhawk's well documented mental health problems, even Low’s most ardent followers would be forgiven for experiencing a little apprehension before forking over £17 for entry to tonight’s gig. On the right night Low can reduce a crowd to tears, but would the obstacles set in front of them be too great? Only time would tell.
First though, before any answer could be given, were Glaswegian five-piece My Latest Novel, who take the epic rock orchestrations of Hope Of The States, replace the pessimistic caterwauling with hopeful chanting and wrap the whole thing up with a proudly Scottish pop charm.
Debut album title track 'Wolves' opened the proceedings, beginning with foot-tapping and acoustic strumming which soon gives way to four-part vocal harmonies and searing violin strokes, and for the most part this formula was left unchanged, with songs slowly building without tumbling typical post-rock crescendos you fear they might. Unfortunately the set was marred and eventually cut short due to violinist Laura Farnley's illness, but My Latest Novel stuck around long enough to enchant the audience without overstaying their welcome.
Something which Low don't have to worry about. From the opening strums of new track 'Sandiasta' Low put to sleep any worriess at the back of the mind of the sold-out crowd. Even after a set close to an hour and a half long and a further four song encore, the crowd pleads for more. Not surprising considering the wealth of material available from Low's back-catalogue, and whilst some classics were given an airing, such as the haunting 'Laser Beam' and the heart-breaking 'Thats How You Sing Amazing Grace', the set was largely built around new, unreleased material.
It is here where Low are at their most schizophrenic; the tracks are a return to the slow-burning beauty of earlier albums that drew comparisons to Codeine and Mazzy Star and enchanted so many, and yet they are delivered with an intensity that bellies this beauty. Guitarist and vocalist Alan Sparhawk hacks at his instrument with a demonic fervour, his face contorted into a look of hatred.
It could have easily been a disaster, but Low aren't strangers to adversary, and with little more than the grace of god and a songbook reaching into triple digits tonight they triumphed majestically.
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