Low, Vienna Radiokulturhaus, 29 May 2007

Went to a great gig last night by Low at the Radiokulturhaus. It started a little shakily, I thought, with a succession of dullish songs from the new album being delivered pretty much on autopilot. But when they reached into their back catalogue with gorgeous songs such as ‘Sunflower’, the place totally caught fire. The glacial vocal harmonies were as joyous and spine-tingling as ever, and what was really striking was the quality and variety of Sparhawk’s guitar work. He used effects pedals to great, um, effect, shifting the moods of the songs beautifully.

Before that, we unfortunately had to sit through a highly tedious hour of video, with an accompanying live (electronic) soundtrack by Scanner. The film, a jumble of disconnected slow motion images, completely failed to engage me, and the music was no help. I loved Rimbaud’s earlier work with the mobile phone interceptions, but he seems to have lost his way.

Finally, a word on the venue. I love the Radiokulturhaus. It’s so comfortable, smart and civilised – a real throwback. In a way it’s good that there are so few shows there. It’s the kind of place that benefits from being an occasional treat.

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