REVIEW / PHOTOS / VIDEOS: The Low Anthem @ Somerville Theatre, Boston 10/21/11

Last Friday night The Low Anthem closed their Fall Tour at the historic Somerville Theatre. This wasn’t just any “end-of-tour” show though, this was an all-out homecoming. Playing to a packed house of friends and fans alike, the Low Anthem culminated years of creativity, experimentation and pure musical genius at a venue made for a band with their sound.

Showcasing their catalog in chronological order, the band played an assortment of songs off each of their albums. They began with songs from What the Crow Brings (2007), took us through Oh My God Charlie Darwin (2008) then lead us to their newest material off of Smart Flesh (2011). I could have heard a pin drop as the room sat completely still, captivated by the four musicians. Each song felt like it’s own musical masterpiece from beginning to end. They toyed with sound, filling the room with rich layers, perfect droning notes and breathtaking acoustics. Throughout the show the band employed countless instruments to demonstrate their musical expertise. Guitar, drums, dulcimer, clarinet, wood saw and (most creatively) audience cell phone reverb, to name a few. The Low Anthem’s ability to produce such structured, elegant “noise” resulted in musical perfection; theoretically dotting each “i” and crossing each “t”.

Throughout the show the band welcomed several fellow musicians to joined them on stage. Each guest was accompanied by a personal recount of their connection to the band. Much to my delight, the evening quickly turned into an intimate home-town gathering. Audience participation continued to flow freely as the band extended an open invitation to any musician in the crowd to come on stage and play along with them. A few brave souls took them up on the offer. What followed suit to end the show was a beautiful performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire” with extensive audience participation. Upon request, 30+ musicians filled the stage. The stunning rendition of Cohen’s song solidified what a special night it was.

Curfew came at exactly 11pm. In order to avoid a curfew fine, the band invited the entire audience outside to continue their showcase of material. Minutes later we found ourselves standing on tables, jumping on benches, climbing into trees. Whatever it took to get an optimal vantage point. And the show went on….and on…and on. For at least another hour the band lead the crowd in a full fledged sing along.

Soon after midnight, The Low Anthem took their final bow in the center of Davis Square and retreated back inside. All those who were left stood there frozen, still echoing in the magic. As I walked away from The Somerville Theatre that night I felt inspired by what I had just witnessed. The Low Anthem blew me away with their powerful showmanship and gave each lucky fan in attendance a homecoming show that was nothing short of regal.
Here are my photos from the show:

Here are some clips from the show: