Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Low Anthem at Jazz Fest

I returned late last night from a trip to New Orleans that was ostensibly about Jazz Fest but was really more about old stomping grounds, great friends, and amazing food than music. I did, however, manage to make it to Jazz Fest for a few hours before catching my plane back home. We unknowingly walked through the gate on Gentilly to the sounds of the Low Anthem and like moths to a flame, were drawn closer and closer to the stage.

Although the sound at the show didn't do justice to the harmonies, the performance was solid--earnest and intentional and of a well-executed roots rock aesthetic. These were serious musicians clearly putting their accumulated understanding of their songs into a mid-afternoon set. The crowd was enjoying the music, but was also talking. I wondered, as the band helped me ease into the afternoon, whether there was room among the food and beer and multiple stages, for those hushed moments that serious musicians are capable of creating. I wondered this, and then the Low Anthem played an intense, beautiful version of "Bird on a Wire" to close their set. It settled over the crowd slowly, a quieting and calming sound.

The video above is from about a month ago but is similar to the version I heard in New Orleans.

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