Photo: Trent Johnson
Photo: Trent Johnson

Low an Odd Choice for SXSW

Let’s set the scenario: You’ve been in Austin for a few days, and so far you’ve been staying up all night and getting up relatively early to take care of teleworking, writing or whatever. The point is, you’ve been out late for two straight nights, and on your third, a wall is approaching. The wall is your brain telling you, “This is great and all, but if I can’t process it, what’s the point?” The brain is correct, which is funny because it really isn’t correct all that much, like that time when you…never mind.

However, instead of granting your brain this victory, you decide that all you need is to boot and rally with the help of energetic music. Your reasoning is, if a band is electric with energy, then I will then wake up and be good to go until tomorrow. You just need to arrive at the back end of the week, because that’s when the festival really picks up steam.

And then you stumble across Low at NPR Music’s SXSW showcase on March 14. Low has been around for 25 years, so they’re undeniably successful; I’m not here to tell you they’re not. However, they are not the band for a fledgling brain in the middle of SXSW, because their performance is a moody, dark brand of sound, which makes you sad and tired.

I thought the music was interesting and intricately put together, with all three members providing vocals accompanied by your typical bass, guitar and drums, with some delicately played piano thrown in. However, putting this in the middle of two high-energy acts is like trying to trick your five-year-old into eating broccoli after you give him a brownie – probably not a great plan.

Low has earned every accolade they’ve been given, and in a vacuum are definitely worth the price of admission for a concert. But when your brain wants sleep and you don’t feel like giving in, Low’s probably not the jolt you need.

To learn more about Low, visit their website here.