SxSW 2011: Low

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Low  SxSW 2011  The Note Well 

Written By:

Alice Shyy

31st May 2011
At 11:57 GMT

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Low: Official SXSW Showcase, St David’s Historic Sanctuary

The Note Well SXSW Friendship Chronicles

I am a bit anxious about seeing for the first time Low perform. The feeling is akin to what I would imagine it would be to anticipate sighting a leprechaun. Beyond the fact that Low will claim a legendary space in indie Valhalla, my personal Low lore is rich with memories and meetings, serendipity and surprise.

Low crops up in odd places. For about the entire last half-year of my university experience, their bizarre video for “Breaker” was the only thing that played on our badly neglected student television network. I can only hope they got their royalties on that, for two of my best friends and I certainly got a lot of inspiration out of this heavy rotation. The video features Low frontman Alan Sparhawk’s desperate attempt to devour the whole of a small cake before the song ends; two other members of the band clap rhythmically in the background. My pals and I made a video attempting the same; two of us submitted the project in a class presentation on performance theory; we got possibly the only “A++” awarded in Yale history; I submitted the project on Youtube on the strength of that scholarly recommendation.

The denizens of The Internet, however, were not so easily convinced: “ours is better,” stated one. We found that we were members of a small subgroup of Sparhawk impersonators, watched every video of our peers, eventually forgot them all (including ours).

A year and a half later in Minehead, Low resurfaced, quite impossibly, in the context of some newly acquainted friends reminiscing on some silly moment wherein one attempted to eat an entire cake... à la Sparhawk. As documented on Youtube.

“Yours is NOT better!” I shrieked, a propos of something only I could know. It took a while to sort out the following: They did not make the comment asserting superiority over our work. They did not know of our work. They did make a video nearly identical to ours, which is to say, nearly identical to Low’s. I did see their video amongst the other homages. I had forgotten about it. So had they. All of our videos are equally bad.

So what remains? Low. Low, with the power to inspire gastronomic idiocy across a couple of countries, with mildly life-changing results. Low, the references to whom seem to come to me out of any reasonable context whatsoever. Low, playing yards away, sounding as beautiful as cake and milk and silly moments with friends. Low, who I give an A++.

Photos happily provided by Team Note Well

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