For the launch of Low Duo’s album, Dive and Slide into the Blue, the Gatsby had an almost Dickensian feel, what with piles of old furniture, the dimmest of lighting and artists entering into an unspoken competition of who can play the most depressing song.
After the pots had been washed and the kitchen transformed into a storage room for the aforementioned old furniture The Hudares kicked things off. Usually a four piece, the band played with only 75% of its members as drummer Richard Chism took a night off so the band had a more acoustic vibe. As a threesome they showed their dedication to the city with compliments to Low Duo (lead singer Steve Oldfield puts them in the category of ‘good music’) and an ode to Sheffield’s industrial landmarks with ‘Furnace Hill’.
Starting with an incredible, yet verging on the pretentious, acapella track David J Roch succeeded in silencing the whole room with a voice that could fill an arena within the first minute of his set. However all assumptions of pretentiousness were soon blown away as Roch made jibes about being miserable in his own songwriting. With pretty and intricate songs followed swiftly by the fast and folky, Roch’s range of skills almost outdid his impressive facial hair. Though the singer did admit it makes sipping a pint difficult. Roch was convinced to detune for an encore of next single ‘Don’t Let Go’. And joked at the reason for why his songs aren’t the most cheerful, he works as an undertaker.
Quoting from Sheffield Hallam University press (the poly didn’t like them, it doesn’t seem to have affected their confidence) Low Duo took the challenge for the most depressing song and one up-ed their support acts. Telling the tale of a young girl involved in a car accident ‘Ambulance’ is haunting and beautiful, played with subtly perfected synchronisation from the Sheffield brothers.
However it was the quietest song of the night that got the biggest cheer for the pair. Unplugged and standing amongst the crowd they made sure everyone was suitably catered for beers wise before asking for a bit of quiet. Their fears of looking foolish weren’t met however, as not a whisper was spoken during the song, and only a huge round of applause came at the end, with the mild mannered Low Duo looking suitable relieved and thanking their crowd.
Playing louder and rawer tracks from their old EPs next to the gritty tales told on their new album, Low Duo show their growth as musicians at their album launch, and have followed a path from angry ranters to storytellers in battered suits.
Though the battered suits can be changed, fans were encouraged to pay as much as they liked for the album out of the band’s pop up merch stall, formed perfectly out of a suitcase and a piggy bank.