Review & Setlist: Low in Cyprus Avenue, Cork - 11th July 2012

Sweaty. Speechless. Shaken. Low live do such things to a person. And it was no different in Cyprus Avenue on a sweltering mid-Summer's evening. The night wasn't all about the Minnesota masters though...

Rising stars Saint Yorda show improvement every time they take their gothic surfpop to the stage. Last night on Caroline Street the sonically salubrious Leeside quartet took off in a gear previously unheard by these eager ears, tastefully - and diligently - blending new material with old. The as-yet-unreleased tracks (including a 50s throwback that could slip straight into Marvin Berry & the Starlighters's Enchantment Under the Sea dance setlist) allow the more downtempo compositions - such as the exponentially infectious 'Manta Ray' - to flourish; Case in point Paul O'Reilly's soaring vocals on the wonderful 'Yr Bones'. Kevin, Paul, Roz and Chris (in this heat, wisely unmasked behind the drumkit) found their road and direction a few months back and are now beginning to collectively force the foot down on the pedal. It's an adventure on which I will gladly follow. Judging by the crowd's comments and reaction, I am not the only one...

Worth noting at this point is the fact that tonight's venue is a sell-out, no mean feat at a time when the vicious sickness that is feet-dragging has become seriously contagious. It took a while for the last adventurous ticket to exuberantly escape the jaws of the printer but faith has been restored in the gig-going public. In fairness though, Low in Cork, what a coup and it is the slow burn of 'Pissing' - complete with bubbling, underlying fury - that introduces Cyprus Avenue to tonight's main attraction. Clad all in black with minimal set-up (Mimi Parker gracefully hovers over just two drums, tom and snare, accompanied by two cymbals), the Duluthians do not really bother with small talk: "You guys look really good, you always do. This time especially good. Thanks for coming out, I hope you're week goes great" pretty much exhausts Alan Sparhawk and co.'s chatter quota for the evening before reeling a rapt front row into a Great Destroyer double-header introduction, tail-ended by the marvellous 'Monkey' accurately foretelling "Tonight you will be mine" with Mr. Sparhawk stretching the capabilities of the silver vintage Gibson Les Paul slung menacingly about the frontman's coiled frame.

"One night I got up and told my father there were witches in my room
He gave me a baseball bat and said here's what you do
When you have finally submitted to embarrassing capture
Take out that baseball bat and show those witches some pasture"

In ninety minutes or so, Mimi, Alan and Steve (Garrington - bass) march relentlessly through the lengthy Low back catalogue seamlessly intertwining new and old with shiny jewels from the recent C'Mon fit to grace the older, more world-weary crowns that are 2007's Drums And Guns 1994 debut I Could Live In Hope. The abrasive unstoppable forward-barge of 'Witches' - in all its violent recollectiveness - raises as large a cheer as any of the "classics" with Mimi effortlessly taking the lead vocal reins on the extraordinary 'Especially Me', a throbbing lament to the lost.

"'Cause if we knew where we belong
There'd be no doubt where we're from
But as it stands, we don't have a clue
Especially me and probably you"

Following a squealing Gibson intro, Nothing But Heart begins to swell. And swell and swell, as the Minnesotan trio provide a masterclass in discipline, building to a climactic crescendo to end all crescendos as Low's fearless leader makes his case for the inclusion of his photo in the dictionary beside the definition of "visceral". Representation for Things We Lost in the Fire has been non-existent so far so the pulsating opening chords of 'Sunflower' appear as if emerging like a shadow from some glorious mist upon an ethereal lake. Never has the Sparhawk twin-vocal sounded sweeter. 'Dinosaur Act' also raises its prehistoric head, bone-crunching guitars and as-anthemic-as-Low-get chorus driving the threesome towards the end of their spellbinding set.

As if the performance couldn't be more special, an encore of "proper" oldies - sandwiching a completely new and untitled composition - seals what must go down as one of 2012's best. In Cork at least.

01. Pissing from The Great Destroyer
02. Monkey from The Great Destroyer
03. Nightingale from C'Mon
04. Dragonfly from Drums And Guns
05. Witches from C'Mon
06. Especially Me from C'Mon
07. Nothing But Heart from C'Mon
08. Sunflower from Things We Lost in the Fire
09. Words from I Could Live In Hope
10. Try To Sleep from C'Mon
11. Murderer from Drums And Guns
12. Dinosaur Act from Things We Lost in the Fire
13. From Your Place on Sunset from Murderer 10"

14. Starfire from Secret Name
15. (New Song)
16. Last Snowstorm of the Year from Trust

- Low played Cyprus Avenue on Wednesday, 11th July
- Support came from Cork's Saint Yorda
- Visit Official Low website for more

Stream the entire setlist using the youtube player below.


  1. oh, sounds like the one that got away..

  2. Wouldn't make economical sense for them not to come back on the next tour is the shining light I suppose.

  3. Great review, was looking for the setlist, my first ever Low gig and suitably spine-chillingly good.

  4. Great review, was looking for the setlist, first ever Low gig and suitably spine-chillingly good. Thanks.

  5. It was some show Declan wasn't it? Thought I had built this one up a little bit too much in my head beforehand. Fortunately, they did not disappoint. Are you heading to any of the gigs in Cork tonight? Lodgefest 2012, The Fall & Trumpets of Jericho and Katie Kim. That is a heck of a multiple choice question!

  6. Unfortunately not, was only back in Ireland for a few days but made sure I was in Cork for the Low gig. Will keep an eye on your site though!


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