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Photos by Nic Pouliot.
LOW at the Great Hall, Saturday, March 16. Rating: NNNN
On the rowdiest drinking weekend of the year, the atmosphere at the Great Hall was hushed and reverent.
While brash, green-hatted revelers spilled out of nearby bars and onto the streets, Low kept the Queen West crowd mesmerized by their lush, intimate "slow-core" tunes. It would be easy for the Duluth trio's sparse, patient music to get lost in such a big room, but the audience rarely let their chatter overtake the band.
Low performed most of their recent Jeff Tweedy-produced 10th album, The Invisible Way, but also culled tracks from all over their rich back catalogue. Throughout their 20 year history, the band somehow keeps discovering new facets of the same essential sonic arsenal, but the core pieces remain - namely Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker's immaculate vocal harmonies and their solemn, melodic songwriting.
Those elements remained centred at their Great Hall performance, which often towed the line between sincerity and over-earnestness (like, it's about the notes they don't play, man), but held the crowd's attention for a solid 90 minutes despite rarely rising above what can generously be considered mid-tempo.