by Ruby Parsons
Low Totem have just performed the most atmospheric, well designed and expertly played gig I have ever been to. Hard to believe it was their first ever show. Headlining Bush Hall on May 10th was the first of hopefully many live performances from the group, following the release of their debut EP Sleuth.
First support act The Empty House Band played to a building crowd. Being a man down didn’t hinder their acoustic set, played so confidently you would think they’ve done it a million times before. Faers, support act number two, was a livelier and louder set, but we’re just as self assured. Playing a mix of old and new, Fears displayed their catalogue of work to the near-full venue.
Low Totem’s arrival on the stage was an instant energy change. The darkened room was dimly lit by the various antique style lamps dotted around the stage. The players of two brass instruments took to the small velvet sofa set at the back of the stage. Frontmen Rhys and Muggy were greeted on the stage by a vintage rug. They were ready to perform in comfort, but were making the most of a small stage to display their unique style.
Low quiet howls eased us into the music, sung into an effects microphone made lead singer Rhys sound like an acapella in the middle of a cathedral. The first song played was a new track which featured an incredible viola solo, Muggy Cooper captivated not only the audience, but his fellow stage members with his expertise. Professionalism and skill continued with Rhys Maslen’s vocal talent, his unique voice drew the crowd in telling stories of divorce and asking ‘Are you rich?’. Their set was filled with a combination of tracks old a new, an exciting combination for fans who have been eager to hear more from the group.
Bush Hall may have just been the perfect setting for this show. Not only did the classic chandelier filled décor match with the creative stage set up, the acoustics the small room offered, enhanced the often classical and bellowing sound of the music. Hidden to the right of the stage, drummer Amanda Dal played the most prominent instrumental of the night. Incredibly technical and well timed she hit precisely when needed and hushed when the song required. Her hard hitting technique created an ebb and flow of listening between the captivating vocals, intricate viola and back to the heavy echoing drums.
An emerging band, concrete in their style, demonstrated such skill in their live performance that those who didn’t know any better would have never guessed it was their first gig. Low Totem repeatedly thanked the crowd for giving them such an impressive turnout, a room of people helped to create history for this band and they weren’t shy in sharing their appreciation. The night ended with the promise of more from them soon, I’m sure everyone who was in Bush Hall that night are joining me in crossing fingers they keep that promise.