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Somerville Theatre, Somerville, MA
Wednesday, 14 February 2001
With Pedro the Lion

If I could sum up the event last night in one word it would be "weird."

I'm not the type of person who usually will grow uneasy or wary of a band who become popular, but it was certainly an uncomfortable experience seeing the group I've been watching live for about 6 years in small settings play to a packed crowd in a place as huge as the Somerville Theater. Alan described it afterwards to me as the "curiosity factor" - where many people are showing up who have heard the buzz, know a couple songs and just come down to see what it's all about, and end up leaving well before the end of the night.

It was rather uneasy watching the audience clearing out about 1/2 way through Low's set as they're no longer concerned with seeing the show, hearing the songs, the main things on their mind were "I gotta *blank* tomorrow morning," "I'm tired and need sleep," etc,... This factor might have been effecting the band as Alan's bantor with the crowd may have been slightly uneasy with bright lights blinding them and a distance from the seated crowd which might still be relatively unfamiliar after all these years.

No longer was the live experience like the one I jumped in the car with a few friends to drive to New Hampshire at the tiny little Elvis Room nor was it one of the old Middle East Upstairs shows when I didn't know the band personally nor anybody in the crowd.

The group was still the same, however. The songs were played with a lot more aggression.

Song list will have to be posted later (or by somebody else) but I can remember hearing rarely-heard live stuff (by me at least) like "Fear" and "The Plan" along with the proverbial popular hits from the new album, some Secret Name stuff and watching them end with a touching yet kitchy "You Are So Beautiful" from Alan alone on guitar.

I can't say seeing them in a place like this was better or worse, but it was certainly weird. It wasn't as magical as the Coolidge Corner show last year with Ida, but I am glad they're making a good living on their career these days and sleeping in hotels as opposed to tour vans and cold floors.

Other personal notes: DJ Starfire, the "Rock and Roll Nanny" was really fun to meet for the first time and I was somewhat embarassed to hear my name being spoken over the microphone.

I'm left wondering "what's next?" What if Warner Bros. approached them with a contract tomorrow? Would they want that? Do they need to consider the future of themselves raising a family, major label advances can be quite large, but one of the numerous downsides would be the restricted freedoms of releasing music on comps, singles and weird things. "Sunflowers" becomes a top 40 radio hit, "our theme" to many lovers in the world and goes down in one-hit wonder hall of fame along with others who had careers long before and after their crack of the Billboard Top 100.

Facing Weirdness,...

Jon Whitney

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