23.5.06

Live Low/Low Live

There are not many live shows that would cause me to salivate in anticipation. Here are some hypothetical examples.

Groop Dogdrill reform and play somewhere like the Hope & Anchor.

Pink Floyd perform ‘The Wall’ at Alexandra Palace.

Frank Black & The Catholics play the Garage.

I don’t know, I could keep going, but those would be ace. But the problem with these are that they are all highly unlikely. Groop Dogdrill haven’t been heard of since Hug went off to tend to his family (if you discount Future Ex-Wife, which it appears most people do). The Catholics parted ways with Frank Black in less than amiable fashion by all reports and the likelihood of a reunion looks slim. The man keeps threatening to tour his merely alright Nashville albums with at least some of the stellar line-up that was used to record it – that’d be quite a coup, Steve ‘The Colonel’ Cropper, Reggie Young, Dan Hood and Spooner & Oldham in your band would be fairly impressive. Hopefully they could make a more interesting sound the squashed-by-Tiven flatness of Honeycomb.
Pink Floyd, despite last year’s Live 8 spectacular (and it really was – for someone who’d grown up looking through secondhand record shops for any Floyd he could get, it was mindblowing), look unlikely to continue as a unit. Just imagine though…

I could include some of last year’s shows in my biggest regrets list, up there with Therapy? in 2000; Caribou for one, but most especially Dirty Three doing a Don’t Look Back presentation of Ocean Songs. If you’re not familiar with the concept, the organisers of this series of shows pick one of a band’s finest albums and get them to showcase it in it’s entirety (plus more – you wouldn’t be shortchanged); last year’s shows also took in Patti Smith, Belle & Sebastian and The Stooges. Dirty Three’s show sounds like it was just incredible, pulling Mr Nick Cave onstage for some joanna work and generally being wonderful. Warren Ellis is maybe the coolest Australian there is.

That show was before I discovered a buried appreciation for Dirty Three; this year is different. For while the organisers (the same good folks who put on the only festival that seems to be worth it’s money, All Tomorrow’s Parties) have shifted locales from the cultured, seated finery of the Barbican Centre to Camden’s renovated palace, the seemingly endlessly tall Koko (I’m only just now getting used to calling it that), the line-up appears to be equally monstrous. Consider: Tortoise; Girls Against Boys; Nightmares On Wax; Ennio Morricone; but there was one that really caught my eye.

Everybody has a Top 5 Albums Ever Ever list. They do. These tend to be fairly malleable, a little fluid at times and while albums tend to come and go off this list, there are those which find their way in very quickly and refuse to budge. For me, there’s only two (Mogwai’s Happy Songs For Happy People is surely too recent an addition): OK Computer, the first album I fell in love with; and Low’s Things We Lost In The Fire.

And guess who’s playing Don’t Look Back? And guess which album? No, not Radiohead, muppet, even better! Low! I’m more excited than is probably healthy, and what’s worse I’m bottling it up slightly, which may cause an outburst at a later date. May, will definitely, whatever. I literally can’t quite comprehend how good it’s going to be (I’m predicting a Le Woof-esque mental implosion) to see Mimi singing Laser Beam, a track which chills and soothes me every time; how awe-inspiring it will be to hear the harmonies of Like A Forest pulled off live – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, no-one does male/female vocal harmonies better than Duluth’s favourite sons and daughter.

And; there’s an and! The show’s not just the album, although that’s the centrepiece: there’s a chance for all your other favourite songs to air – do you think they’ll play When I Go Deaf, or Death Of A Salesman from last year’s album of the year, The Great Destroyer? Or the delicious Two-Step? It’s just too much to contemplate. I’m a happy, happy man, holding out for the Little Drummer Boy.

I love going to shows which are an event: the 4AD anniversary shows last year were like that – Kristin Hersh playing all Muses songs, the Breeders rocking Blackheath – and they were great. This series really has that special sort of feel to it, and it’s going to rock.

Low – Laser Beam
Low – Like A Forest
Low & Dirty Three – I Hear Goodnight

Visit/buy Low from Rough Trade/Amazon
Buy Ocean Songs

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

have you heard of a little man called "steve irwin"?

Oh Simone said...

You crazy anonymous tipster you, you've pre-empted my today's post slightly.
Of course, Steve Irwin is a solid gold hero.