Wednesday’s Low/Damien Jurado show was not only worth our two-hour drive to Tucson, it was worth the wait after Low canceled its tour last year because of Alan Sparhawk’s mental well-being, about which he was refreshingly candid with fans.
The last (and only) time I’d seen Low was in Tempe, Ariz., in the mid ’90s when they opened for Soul Coughing. Perhaps an unlikely pairing, but I can remember people in the crowd booing during Low’s set. Idiots.
I gotta believe this is the first indie/rock show I’ve been to in which drums were used but no bass drum. It’s sort of symbolic of both Jurado and Low’s somber output. (At one point, Jurado’s drummer even put a towel over the snare drum to give it a muffled effect.)
Listening to Low and seeing Low are two completely different experiences. It’s one thing to hear the three-piece band on CD, mp3 or what have you. It’s quite another to see it – this minimalist setup of guitar, bass and stripped-down drum kit. I’m amazed how the sparsity of the songs inspire such strong emotions. Then to add the element of Sparhawk’s personal issues (of which he only apologized for the canceled dates) and the tension and feelings of the songs become that much stronger.
For me, the best song had to be When I Go Deaf off The Great Destroyer. I’ve loved Cue the Strings so much from this album and overlooked how stunning this one is. The lyrics are just so powerful. I have a feeling I’ll be listening to this song many times in the coming weeks.
One final note on Low: Sparhawk and wife Mimi Parker have absolutely gorgeous voices. It’s moving to hear and see music with such heart and feeling behind it.
My favorite record store in Tucson, formerly PDQ Records and Tapes, changed ownership and is now the strangely named Judy’s Music (I still can’t bring myself to say it). Lucky for me, the same inventory exists – a warehouse chock full of vinyl. What I spent $32 on:
Paul Simon, Graceland
Sparks, Interior Design
Sam Cooke, Another Saturday Night/Send Me Some Lovin’
Eddy Grant, Electric Avenue/Time Warp
Tears for Fears, Shout/The Big Chair
Bill Joel, Pressure/Laura
Jean Knight, Mr. Big Stuff/Why I Keep Living These Memories
Run-DMC, It’s Tricky/Proud to be Black (picture sleeve!)
What kind of guy would I be if I didn’t share?
Eddy Grant | Electric Avenue
The Department of Justice is checking into digital music pricing by major labels. (Story from Reuters via Yahoo.)