LOW @ Tramway, Glasgow, 29 Jan
Flanked by exposed brickwork and stark lighting in Glasgow's Tramway, LOW offer a beautiful evening of music drawing from their latest album and mining for gold across their back catalogue
Tramway is an ideal venue for LOW; its post-industrial nature seems to mirror the way in which they approach their music, with a consideration for the interplay between disintegration and renewal, while the performance space itself allows a rare intimacy that drives home the connection between audience and performer, and the performers themselves. With a minimal stage setup, flanked by exposed brickwork and stark lighting effects, it's the perfect canvas for a sonic masterpiece.
The set is mostly comprised of last year's brilliant Double Negative, with a peppering of hits from other eras. The band move deftly from dark to light, between bare minimalism (Lazy), dramatic, searing breakdowns (Do You Know How to Waltz?) and lush, lilting harmonies (Always Trying to Work It Out). Sometimes the light panels at the back of the stage give esoteric companionship to the songs (close-up guitars, out-of-focus tunnels or migrating swallows during Disarray) or else just pulse, vibrate or flash to match the restraint or intensity of a given moment.
LOW's music is often seen as 'heavy' due to its plodding deliberance and confessional lyricism, but the show ends on a moment of sweet levity, with Alan Sparhawk explaining that Mimi (Parker) was texting earlier because they need to check in with their son at home (it's -25° in Duluth), before offering some handy advice about plumbing and airflow during a cold snap. He then acknowledges the bleak state of the world, introducing the closer Sunflower as a song "about eternal love". It's an obvious favourite that has been mostly sidelined for the last few years; full of hope, wonder and appreciation of the power of love in the face of adversity, it provides a beautiful end to the night.