October 22, 2011

Rock Over Boston: The Low Anthem | Somerville Theatre | 10.20.2011

[The Low Anthem at (and across from) the Somerville Theatre, Somerville, MA 10/20/2011. Photos by Michael Piantigini.] 

I've gone on and on and on about the conjuring powers of The Low Anthem so, yeah, I probably don't need belabor the point. So, quickly: this was a rambling and rough-around-the-edges (in a good way) night where the Rhode Islanders closed out their tour spending a full two hours playing clutches of tracks from their three albums in roughly chronological order. They called for an "open stage," insisting that any musician who wanted could join in at any time. The only takers were someone who joined them on singing saw, and, later, a man who materialized out of nowhere with a trombone. These seemed disappointing, so the set closer had the band calling for any musicians in the house to come on stage and play something.  This led to a lot of people mostly just hanging out, but it was a blast anyway.

Up against a hard curfew (after which the band would be financially penalized for extending the show), but not ready to quit, lead singer Ben Knox Miller reconvened on the plaza across from the Somerville Theatre, eventually joined by the rest of the band and opener Joe Pug and some of their other guest musicians and played another 40 minutes or so of standards and sing-alongs. It was one of those rare, magic moments. (Though sort of lost on some passers-by: when the band were swapping instruments at one point, the college-agers near me where giggling about how it "so Arcade Fire of them," their friend correcting, "no, how Phish of them.")

Their website was hinting recently at the band making some changes, but I'm not worried - the Low Anthem is clearly full of wonderful surprises.

-Michael Piantigini

The Low Anthem: Intertubes | MySpace | Twitter

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