Low & Mono @ Imperial Theatre 17/6/17
In the dim light of Vancouver’s Imperial Theatre on June 17th, two musical groups–Low from Duluth, Minnesota and Mono from Tokyo, Japan–celebrated dim and minor key atmospheres to an especially respectful and attentive audience. The combination of a well natured crowd, the crisp and clear acoustics, an intimate venue and high calibre talent culminated in a particularly exquisite and artistic musical evening.
Low, a deeply introspective and minor key three-piece has been pumping out records since the mid ‘90s. Combining a sparse indie rock beauty with dark and hallowed guitar, Low crafts deeply introspective moods aside dreamy, poetic lyrics. Playing a batch of songs from their latest album Ones and Sixies, the three piece showcased a continued and expanding talent for song-craft. “No Comprhende” with its persistent beat and subjection of confusion and the similarly themed “Spanish Translation” stood proudly as live compositions. With minor-key dominated lyricism, throwback tunes like “Sunflower” and “Monkey” rung out with their peculiar and memorable lines. Alan Sparhawk sings the part of a fatal, artistic romantic not unlike Sonic Youth’s Lee Ronaldo; both artists also use similar clear, nature guitar tones with complex, interweaving undertones. Mimi Parker’s dynamic and open percussion allowed for her crisp and spirited voice to take prominence.
Mono, an ambitious and artistic instrumental four piece, plays to a different set of standards. A pair of stools were set up on each side of the stage for Taka and Yoda, the band’s respective guitarists. Performing in support of 2016’s Requiem For Hell, Mono bombarded the audience with their music, which though energeti are drawn out compositions better described as pieces or movements rather than songs. Ranging from a calm, quiet surface to the crushing fury of a tidal wave, Mono produces a form of instrumental rock that is as progressive as it is psychedelic and as loud as it is artistic. The group resembles sonic aspects of other post-rock bands such as Mogwai, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and This Will Destroy You and have found a fine balance of genres with a sophisticated style that is all of their own. From the playful, drawn out “Ashes in the Snow” from 2009’s Hymn to the Immortal Wind to the turbulent and troubled “Ignite” from Rays of Darkness, Mono displays an incredible range of atmospheric emotions without ever using a voice or lyric. Each instrument resonated with volume, clarity and without digital interference or compression. The fury of this four-person rock symphony can only be experienced in person. Closing out their performance with the epic title track “Requiem For Hell,” it seemed as if they were playing for Dante himself. on June 17th, two musical groups–Low from Duluth, Minnesota and Mono from Tokyo, Japan–celebrated dim and minor key atmospheres to an especially respectful and attentive audience. The combination of a well-natured crowd, the crisp and clear acoustics, an intimate venue and high calibre talent culminated in a particularly exquisite and artistic musical evening.