Low show review

Celeste Welshhons

I arrived at the Octagon Center for the Arts about 10 minutes before the Low show was about to start. I was a little surprised to only see about five people waiting outside as this was supposed to be the main headlining show for the Maximum Ames Music Festival.

We were soon let into the building, but had to climb to the third floor to get to the room where the show was going to take place. Holly and The Night Owls took the stage a few minutes after 6 p.m., and the music was close to nonstop until 9:30 p.m..

The band played on the floor in front of the stage instead of on it — probably because the stage was set for the other two bands. Holly has a sweet, melodic voice that was quite enjoyable to listen to, and her band sounded great as well. A lot of the audience members were swaying along to the music or keeping time with their feet or heads. A few younger people were even dancing off to the side of the stage.

Their set seemed to go flawlessly. Holly transitioned from her corner post on the grand piano to an acoustic guitar about halfway through the set, and at one point, the band played a little louder than they had been which really seemed to get the crowd moving more.

Next up was The Lonelyhearts. They started their set early but only by about 10 minutes. A lot of people had left the room after Holly and The Night Owls, but were slowly trickling back in along with some more new faces. The vocal quality of the duo was quite amazing — they were very complimentary to one another. They also had a tendency to sound like more than two people with the sheer volume of their sound.

There were not many people swaying to the music or even keeping time during their set like there were during Holly and The Night Owls, but I personally really enjoyed their style. By the time their set ended around 7:30 p.m., the room was getting full.

There was a little boy crawling underneath chairs as the stage was being prepared for the arrival of Low. The room became more full with some people even resorting to sitting on the floor. Eventually over 100 people were in attendance.

I had no idea what to expect from Low. They came onstage after a ten minute countdown was projected on the wall. The music started slow and dark and there were flashing pictures across the back wall. The pictures were mainly scenery or old looking video of happy people doing various activities.

Immediately my mind jumped to a movie I had once seen called “Koyaanisqatsi” which was basically time lapses of different places around the world, much like the images Low was projecting. Another thing it reminded me of was the concept of The Pink Floyd Experience.

Throughout the show, there was loud whistling and applause any time the band took a break between songs. They play the type of music that makes a person feel like their soul can take a break. Even with the overly loud guitar, this was one of the most relaxing experiences I have ever had.

Another amazing thing that happened at the end of the show was the encore. Obviously, since they were the headlining band, playing an encore was a likely event, but once they came back onstage and asked what the audience wanted to hear, I did not hear any two people shout out the same song title. These people were here for Low and were definitely fans that knew the band’s catalogue of music.

This is a band I would really recommend experiencing at least once even if you are generally into other genres of music. They don’t just put on a live concert, they put on a show and a sensory experience.

After the show, many of the audience members stuck around to converse with all of the acts that had taken the stage that night. There was a merchandise booth right outside of the door that was almost blocking the way back down the stairs to the outside world.

At least five people were stopped at the booth buying something either associated with the festival, Iowa music in general or one of the performers of the night. It was a refreshing sight.