“I hope you don’t mind if we play a song that we’ve already played tonight,” Ben Knox Miller told the sold out crowd at MASS MoCA, as the Low Anthem returned to the stage for their encore.
The quartet began singing as he plucked his banjo so quietly, so delicately that the song was almost a cappella. And it took the crowd a minute or two to recognize the tune – the Tom Waits-Jack Kerouac “Home I’ll Never Be” – because it was so radically different than the clattering, amped-up rendition of the same song that they had performed just an hour earlier.
That’s the Low Anthem in a nutshell. They’ve got the neo old-timey thing down cold, conjuring up back-porch incantations with hymn-like reverence and ragged righteousness. But they can also plug-in and rock with a funky, Band-like Catskill cacophony.