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Is it really seven years since Low were last here?

According to Alan Sparhawk it is and I can well remember sitting at the front of The Empire straining to hear them play over what was not a very loud hubbub of conversation. This time we had no such difficulties - the sound was perfect and the audience was very polite and well behaved.

When you read Alan Sparhawk's postings on Low's website you could be forgiven for thinking he is a man constantly wracked by angst. But on this occasion he was relaxed - joking even - and clearly comfortable to be onstage.

The harmonies with his wife Mimi Parker were as spine-tingling and faultless as ever and Sparhawk's tightly wound guitar work provides a perfect counterpoint.

As has been pointed out many times since the release of their latest album Low are clearly a band in transition. Their sound is moving from the purely ethereal to something a bit more muscular, for want of a better word - and it works well live.

Much of the show drew on Drums and Guns and the songs sounded as full and intense as you would have hoped. Among the standouts on the night were 'Dragonfly', 'Sandinista' and 'Belarus'.

This time the band was relaxed enough to take a few requests for encores - including 'Lullaby', which Sparhawk had to work out the chords to onstage before he played it.

Ian McTear

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Gig Details
Venue: Custom House Square Marquee
Location: Belfast
Date: 10/5/2007