Lowest of the Low Review

Lowest of the Low Review

Who are you and what concert did you attend last night? Did the Buffalo News PAY you to write this article?

Low’s reliable favorites rescue a dated opening

NORTH TONAWANDA – The Lowest of the Low were retro when they first broke in the mid-90s. After following opening act Pilate, whose influences broke about the same time as the Low’s first breakup, the Low sounded even more dated Saturday night during the Molson Canal Concert Series at Gateway Park in North Tonawanda.

Dated opening? Huh? “Sounded even more dated” Hot damn. I am officially old and proud of it! The opening act Pilate consisted of a young, pretty man, SCREAMING lyrics into a microphone while trying exceptionally hard to be *cool* like Bono. Well, for the few songs he sang anyhow, I thought he was trying awfully hard to sound like a DATED Bono. But maybe that’s the extreme bass that was crushing my chest and breath speaking.

That’s not to say they were bad. The Low are consistently good, no matter what incarnation comes to Buffalo. Their blend of grunge sensibilities with a country feel works, even with new songs, some not even part of the band’s catalog.

Well, I am glad you thought they were “not bad.” And the fact that you realize there are incarnations means you might have read up on the act. Good for you. Blend of grunge with a country feel? Was this because Mr. Ron Hawkins was wearing a cowboy hat the whole night? And cause he has “grunge/alternative” stickers on his guitar? Geez, they didn’t even play “Turpentine” I guess that would have knocked the grunge right out of the sentence. Country feel yes. Rock yes. Pop yes. Jazzy yes.

Lead singer Ron Hawkins kicked off the Low’s show with “1-800-RADIO,” a song from his as-yet untitled new album. Though its country influences ring fairly modern (think Garth Brooks or Big & Rich), the song couldn’t help but call to mind early ’90s aesthetics, using such gimmicks as a bullhorn, retired by most bands in 1996.

Dude, you rule (sorry, I had no choice!) I mean thanks for pointing out the early 90’s aesthetics of a bullhorn, because that is underreported these days in music reviews. However, next time, you might want to check your facts because the first song Ron played off his yet untitled album, was NOT the one that they used the bullhorn in. That would be off the Low’s album Sordid Fiction and the song was “The Last Recidivist”

Later in the set, they pulled out some of the songs that really defined them as an influential group.

Opening band Pilot Speed – at Saturday’s show, it still went by its former name Pilate – nearly stole the show. Lead singer Todd Clark’s voice is a coherent version of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, and the band’s songs recall Radiohead’s more accessible early sound.

Ok, I get it Evan, you like Radiohead. Pilot sounded like Radiohead. Therefore they stole the show. The super drunk guy in the middle of the audience who was screaming his adoration of the band? Was also trying to teach his son how to be an obnoxious concert goer. The man was not indicative of the entire crowd, and I can at least count three people who thought that the band Pilot most certainly did not steal the show.

So after talking more about the band he loved the most he ends his review with these sentences.

The Low’s set was decidedly jubilant, as the North Tonawanda show was not part of any tour. In fact, it was a 2006 date that not even Canadian audiences were privileged to hear.

Yes, since the band is actually not recording or performing together at this time there was no tour. You are correct. Although they do tend to pop up here and there quite frequently.

The opening song segued into songs from their first album, “Shakespeare My Butt.” Their most recent album, 2004’s “Sordid Fiction,” was rarely featured, but that was OK.

I guess Evan must have missed the name of the 2nd album Hallucigenia. And to my recollection the Low played um, more than a few songs from Sordid Fiction last night. I do recall hearing 8/12 songs actually.

The Last Recidivist
Everywhere And Nowhere
…And Then The Riot
Your Birthday Party
Save Me, Alice Neel!
The Sharpest Pain
Winter Sleepers

Although I am not remembering for certain if “And Then The Riot” played, since I was listening to Low all week it all becomes a bit of a blur. I do know however that Ron did not play “Blur.” And I THINK Stephen played “The Sharpest Pain” Erin? Fact check me please? 😉

This last line makes me cringe. And not just because I love Ron Hawkins and The Lowest of the Low pretty much more than any other band…

The Low knew to stick with their best known, strongest and most upbeat songs, which dug them out of the time warp Pilot Speed left them in.

…but because I was actually at the show and can say that the band, of course, played it’s favorites. But the band also featured a bunch of Ron’s solo work (including the unreleased new album) as well as a few of Stephen’s. “Crying Like a Postcard” was a song so old I had not actually heard them play it live. And I seriously can’t count how many shows of “Ron (and his permeations thereof) and the Low” I’ve been to over the last 10 years. The Low played new music. Solo music. Timeless classic crowd pleasing favorites. And a more than a few off Sordid Fiction. Yes, they used a bullhorn too, and I bet not one single person other than Evan Parker Pierce thought about 1996.

I’m not sure how you can compare the two bands at all actually…to combine them in a wrap-up conclusion about a time warp? Just makes me sad for the Buffalo News.

I get it Evan Parker Pierce. You are hip and far cooler than I will ever be. And you can LOVE the opening act Pilot Speed with relentless passion. However, a fair review of the headlining show would be most appreciated for oh, the rest of the world.

Good luck watching the show next week, Blue Rodeo. Buffalo News? You might want to get someone else for this review. Blue Rodeo might seem down right elderly…I mean they made music in the 80’s. GASP!

Whatcha talkin' bout Willis?