Towards the end of Low’s set, vocalist and guitarist Alan Sparhawk thanked not only the luminous support act, Hilary Woods (whose five spare and buffeting songs held an early audience entranced), but also the band’s technical team, the person in charge of merchandise and the driver. If art can be separated from our view of its creators, then this grace and humility need not be mentioned, but there was something indelibly humane running through every song that Low played to a sold-out Barbican Hall on a bracing Friday evening.
The opening songs, ‘Always Up’ and ‘Quorum’, seethed and spread, with the layers of distortion characteristic of 2018’s Double Negative adding coruscating edge to the almost viscous quality of their magisterially-paced songs. ‘Tempest’, ‘Waltz’ and ‘Lazy’ saw the band stretch their tendrils through the concert hall, with the expanse of the sound almost incomprehensibly coming from the discreet trio labouring at the core.
Mimi Parker’s anchoring drums and Steve Garrington’s bass guitar brought column-like solidity, and by the time the former took wing when singing ‘Especially Me’, Low’s fans were convinced that they were being supremely treated. An extra song was added for the encore, with Sparhawk gratefully adding that it was a reward for the show selling out very quickly. He had previously sung that he was ‘nothing but heart’ on the song of that name. After such a formidable and generous performance, it would be hard to say otherwise.