The Low Anthem, Local 506

Haunting, stunning, beautiful…. Low Anthem shows make me run out of adjectives.

506 sounded stunning, the crowd was beautiful and respectful of the kind of tense quiet Low Anthem bring.

Williiam Elliott Whitmore,  Local 506, Chapel Hill NC, 09/18/11
William Elliott Whitmore opened with a fantastic set. Generous with the audience and just delightful. A thrill to see him again.

Then The Low Anthem came on and it was obvious we were in for a treat with a song from their first album to open and the announcement that it would be a chronological show. A few more from What the Crow Brings. A heartfelt and amazing selection of 7 songs from Oh My God, Charlie Darwin. Then 4 or 5 songs from this year’s Smart Flesh. Then, a beautiful, haunting, sparse cover of Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire.” And an encore of 3 new songs.

The Low Anthem, Local 506, Chapel Hill NC, 09/18/11

The Low Anthem’s instrumentation is always a delight, as in this photo of a bowed banjo, but it is more than just a trick. It is texture. On their 2011 release Smart Flesh they recorded it in an old pasta factory not in a studio and it sounds both more quiet and more layered because of it. The amazing thing is that they are able to get that same texture live. It’s the instrumentation, yes, but it’s also the audible pauses, the ends of phrases, the obvious care with every note.

It’s beautiful, simply. And last night was 1hour 45mins of music that restored my attention span after all the short sets of Hopscotch. It made me cry more than twice. It was one of the best shows I’ve seen this year.

Full photo set here

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