Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Tuesday, May 28

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« Michael McDermott at Uncommon Ground Lollapalooza Artist Preview: OK Go »

Concert Tue Jul 05 2011

Review: Low, Glen Hansard @ Downtown Sound: New Music Mondays, 6/27

[This review comes to us from regular GB photographer, Rory O'Connor.]

Downtown Sound_01.jpg
Downtown Sound crowd, June 27th (photos by Rory O'Connor)

It was an unlikely pairing at the June 27th installment of Downtown Sound: New Music Mondays at Pritzker Pavilion; one which may have taken more than a few people by surprise depending on their reasons for attending the evening's event.

Glenn Hansard_03.jpg
Glen Hansard (photos by Rory O'Connor)

Glen Hansard got things started off, as he walked out on stage armed with only a worn out acoustic guitar and a bit of Irish wit. Hansard, perhaps best known as lead singer of the band the Frames and half of the Swell Season, proceeded to treat the crowd to a spirited 45+ minute set, which included a rousing rendition of Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks." Shortly before delving into the cover, Hansard delivered a quick tale about learning his trade by performing on the street and one could see how his humble start had paid off. Hansard appeared completely at ease with his guitar on the pavilion's spacious stage, working the crowd with a bit of humor between songs. His easy manner kept the performance light, even among some of the sadder numbers. Hansard also delivered on what a large contingent were presumably there to hear, when he performed his most well known song "Falling Slowly," for which he won an Academy Award.

Low (photos by Rory O'Connor)

Shortly after, headliners Low took the stage, fronted by husband and wife duo Alan Sparhawk (vocals/guitar) and Mimi Parker (vocals/percussion) and backed by Steve Garrington on bass and Eric Pollard on keyboard. It proves a particularly difficult task to describe the music of Low for anyone not already familiar, but the one word which feels closest in doing so is intense. Opening the show with "Nothing but Heart," from the band's most recent release C'mon, they played a set which relied heavy on newer material. However, the evening's highlights were provided when the band dipped into some older material. The haunting vocal harmonies between husband and wife were on full display during a rendition of "Silver Rider."

Low's Mimi Parker (photos by Rory O'Connor)

Part of the beauty of Low's music is its ability to appear painfully intimate while remaining largely ambiguous, a sentiment exemplified by the set's closer "Violent Past." As the band came out for their encore, Sparhawk dedicated the final song of the night to those who may be hearing them for the first time, just before striking the opening notes to "When I Go Deaf," from 2005's The Great Destroyer. Ultimately, his dedication could have been followed by anything because every song in the band's catalog is singularly and unmistakably Low. The band's music is not for everyone, as it carries a heavy weight, a seemingly constant struggle, which can prove difficult for the casual listener. But, for those who are able to connect with the band and their music, they are rewarded with an experience that may never be forgotten.

Low's Alan Sparhawk (photos by Rory O'Connor)

-Rory O'Connor

GB store

Kirstie / July 12, 2011 9:11 PM

Great photos as always and I love how you described Low here: "Part of the beauty of Low's music is its ability to appear painfully intimate while remaining largely ambiguous, a sentiment exemplified by the set's closer "Violent Past." I don't know as if I would have been able to put it into these exact words myself but they are rather apt. Well done, Rory!

GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

GB store


Featured Series


Transmission on Flickr

Join the Transmission Flickr Pool.

About Transmission

Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Sarah Brooks,
Transmission staff inbox:



Transmission Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15