Days Like These: A Tribute to LOW

LOW Tribute Show•March 25, 2023•Velour Live Music Gallery

Reviewed and Photographed by Alisha Gregson

Photo Credit: Alisha Gregson

The atmosphere inside Provo’s esteemed music venue, Velour Live Music Gallery, felt different than normal on Saturday, March 25th. The venue and date had originally been booked to host a concert for the band Low, a place they had performed many times over the years. Sadly, after the recent passing of Low’s drummer, Mimi Parker, no such concert would take place. 

In an Instagram post earlier this month, Velour owner Corey Fox shared his feelings about the loss of Mimi Parker, and his idea of how to honor her, “Velour and the international music community were devastated by the news of the passing of Mimi Parker, drummer and co-vocalist of the legendary and influential band Low. I’ve been lucky enough to host the majority of Low’s Utah shows since 1998, and was very much looking forward to their concert that was scheduled for March 25th at Velour. Since the canceling of their tour, I have felt a reverence for that date and have had a hard time booking anything else. I decided that the only proper thing to do with that date was to celebrate low with a tribute concert!”

So on the Saturday night originally set aside for Low, 17 local bands or artists, and a room full of fans, gathered together for a night to remember Mimi. All proceeds from Saturday’s concert were donated to her family. 

Low, the indie rock band from Duluth, Minnesota, was formed in 1993 by husband and wife, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker. They have recorded 13 studio albums, and are known for their slow tempos, minimalist style, and endless creativity. On November 5th, 2022, Mimi Parker died at age 55 of ovarian cancer. After a long and influential career in the music industry, many fans and fellow artists were deeply affected by her passing.  

Paul Jacobsen, a well-known local artist, and longtime Low fan played a large part in both organizing and directing Saturday night’s concert. At the beginning of the night, he stepped onto the stage to welcome everyone. He explained that each artist or band would take a turn playing a Low song, and he would share quotes and memories about Mimi between each song. Before the first artist performed, he took a minute to talk about Low, and I noticed how calm and respectful the crowd was as he spoke of Mimi. 

As previously mentioned, Low had 13 studio albums. This gave the artists performing at Saturday Night’s tribute plenty of excellent songs to choose from. First up was Stuart Maxfield to sing “Plastic Cup,” from their 2013 album The Invisible Way. Staying true to the original, Maxfield’s beautiful performance helped set the tone for the rest of the evening. 

As the next band set up behind him, Paul shared a touching story from a fan name Cullen, about how Low’s music, specifically the album I Could Live in Hope, changed his life. Paul read, “I have literally never talked about this, with a single person. 1997, driving back from a Dairy Queen shift, I decided I was going to kill myself. On the way home, I listened to this record and felt less alone and I changed my mind. Mimi Parker changed my life. Art saves lives.” Next up, to sing “Words” a song from this life-saving album, was Maya Shore, a band who previously had the opportunity to play with Low. 

While singing “Just Make it Stop,” singer-songwriter, Mia Hicken paused in the middle of her song after forgetting a few lyrics. She told the crowd that the words were too important and she didn’t want to not sing them. She received a supportive cheer from the audience as she pulled out the lyrics, and then finished the song flawlessly. 

Instead of reading a heartwarming story, or touching tribute, Paul introduced the next song by reading a very negative review about it from Pitchfork. He then asked the crowd, “Can you imagine being that wrong about something?” Making light of the negative review, he welcomed The LoveStrange on stage to sing “Broadway (So Many People.)” Playing together for the first time in 5 years, The LoveStrange did an excellent job. 

The next two performances both featured songs from Low’s 2001 album, Things We Lost In The Fire. Solo artist Joe Castor sang “Like A Forest,” and was followed by Pinguin Mofex who chose “Dinosaur Act.” 

Next up, to cover “Over The Ocean,” was ABCSadboy. He introduced his new band, Monkey Paw, and was joined by Little Moon. ABCSadboy would later accompany Little Moon when it was her turn. Singer-songwriter Stephanie Mabey was one of my favorite artists of the night. I loved her version of “Holy Ghost.” Next to take the stage was the band Mmend performing “Fly” from Low’s 2018 album Double Negative. 

Paul Jacobsen continued sharing quotes and stories about Mimi between each song. He also had the opportunity to pay tribute to Low with his own performance. Paul Jacobsen & The Madison Arm shared the stage with Sunfall Festival, and together they sang 3 songs. I enjoyed their impressive covers of “Monkey,” “Breaker,” and “When I Go Deaf.”

I was already amazed by the many incredible artists who had contributed to the tribute concert. The following 3 acts we just as impressive as they used their talents to honor Mimi. Talin Everett sang “Laser Beam,” Coastal sang “Shame,” and Goldmyth chose “Disarray.” 

Next to take the stage was a band that had played a sold-out show at Velour the previous night. Cardinal Bloom did an excellent job playing “No Comprende” from Low’s 2015 album, One’s and Sixes. Like many of the other artists throughout the night, they kept their cover very close to the original. Electronic indie band, Polytype, reunited for just one night to perform “Days Like These,” from Low’s most recent album, Hey What. I thought they did amazing, and I was glad they were willing to reunite for such a special show. 

The last artist for the evening was Little Moon. She has such a beautiful voice, and her performance of “Sunflowers” was very powerful. She welcomed those who felt so moved, to sing along.

After the impressive lineup of so many talented artists, Paul wanted to end the night with something special. He asked the audience to join in singing a Low Christmas song together. He stepped off the stage and into the crowd, while everyone sang “Just Like Christmas.” It was such a sweet way to end an already incredible night of live music. The songs, quotes, and stories shared on Saturday night were all such beautiful tributes to the very talented Mimi Parker.

Standing in the room that night, I could tell how loved she was, and the legacy she left will not soon be forgotten.  Before the crowd finally left, a performance of Low’s last concert at Velour was projected on a screen.

The songs, quotes, and stories shared on Saturday night were all such beautiful tributes to the very talented Mimi Parker. Standing in the room that night, I could tell how loved she was, and the legacy she left will not soon be forgotten. 

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