A Review of Low at Vicar Street Dublin from the 26-04-22.
Well, it’s fair to say gigs are well and truly back. The Dublin venue was busy for the first visit of American band Low to Ireland in nearly four years.
The support act on the night was the practically unclassifiable Divide and Dissolve. It’s fair to say their music was practically an assault on the audience, largely doom metal with looped drones. Their instrumental tracks were introduced by a looped saxophone before the angry guitar and drums kicked in. In between songs. guitarist Takaiaya Reed launched into lengthy speeches about the effects of racism and white supremacy, which may have been lost on the audience. Punctuating this with punishing noise, it was an unusual set, to say the least.
Low’s Mimi Parker and Alan Sparhawk were joined on bass by Liz Draper. They began with a run-through of practically all of last year’s Hey What. While previously on the Double Negative tour they stripped the material back, here they attempted to replicate the noise and chaos of the album, with success it has to be said. They played these at times startling songs with a rhythm section that was as precise as Sparhawk’s guitar was ragged. All Night and Don’t Walk Away were treated a little more sparsely than on the album, while on the other hand Days Like These and particularly The Price You Pay got a heavier treatment, the latter full of tension. All the while Parker’s vocals were as clear as a bell. It was a set that was, for want of a better word, as uncompromising as fuck.
When they reverted to older material it felt almost… conventional in comparison to what went before. Sparse versions of Congregation and Plastic Cup nestled side by side with a heavy version of Monkey and a towering version of Nothing But Heart. Just when you thought the night couldn’t get any better, it did. The encore was possibly the highlight of the night, with a lump in the throat inducing version of Two-Step, before the elated band bashed through When I Go Deaf.
Some in the audience were close to tears afterwards, it felt emotional from a band that gave so much over lockdown with their free Instagram concerts. A band that has evolved so much in nearly 30 years to reach greater and greater heights.