Wednesday, February 23, 2005

I See My Favourite Slowcore Band. Where Is The Excitement?

Low/Kid Dakota, Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall, Saturday February 19 2005.

I know nothing about Kid Dakota but apparently they've released a couple of albums on the headliners' record label, Chairkickers' Union. Nepotism for their adopted 'Kid' though clearly isn't the only reason for Low giving them the slot as their songs, though unfamiliar, have a definite beguiling quality. They start off as a two-piece, with a nerdy-looking lead singer and a flamboyant drummer who proves you don't have to have Meg White's tits to make an impression behind the sticks of a dynamic duo. For the second half of the show they are joined by the bass player from Low (not that I would recognise the bass player from Low if I saw him in an ID parade but Ben wins the spotters' badge on this occasion) and the resulting set is suitably intriguing for me to seriously consider buying up their back catalogue.

Low have received some of their best reviews to date for 'The Great Destroyer' which many believe is the strongest album to be released thus far in 2005, but the Wulfrun Hall is barely half full, which kind of puts their popularity amongst 'the great unwashed' in perspective. The band seem relaxed and in good humour, cracking a few jokes and engaging in banter with the audience about songs requested (pleas for Joan Of Arc sadly go unanswered), plus show the confidence to unleash former Parallax View Single Of The Week 'California' just a few songs in.

Given their much-trumpeted noisier direction of late, I was tempted to shout out 'Judas!' during the tinnitus-inducing climax of 'When I Go Deaf' but as they're Mormons the band might not understand and no-one could hear me anyway. Low's set is fairly heavily concentrated with tracks from the new record, with 'Amazing Grace' and 'Dinosaur Act' amongst the 'oldies' also standing out, but it turns into a fairly short set for a band seven albums into their career, even taking the 4-5 encores into consideration. The band offer an absorbing entertainment with beautiful harmonising, interesting lyrics and clever songcraft combining to impressive effect but as with their new record, there's a tangible lack of excitement that stops them just short of genuine greatness.

Stumbling out of the venue I notice that the snowflakes cascading down earlier in the evening have come to naught and I will after all be able to take my train safely back to the Parallax View palatial residence rather than be stranded in Wolves. A case of handy fair weather for Low, then?


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