For the last few summers in Chicago, the city has been sponsoring a free concert series on Monday nights called “Downtown Sound”. Basically its purpose is to showcase up-and-coming artists both on a local and national scale. I’ve seen performances from St. Vincent, The Feelies and She & Him for that over the last couple years. This year’s lineup is great as usual, and last night’s was no exception. I caught Glen Hansard (The Swell Season/The Frames) playing a few solo songs before his pair of gigs with Eddie Vedder in town later this week, and the night’s headliner was Low. I’m not going to write a show review on it because I walked in with no idea of how long I might stay, along with no camera. I like to take photos when I can. All I’ll say about it is that Hansard is still excellent, even when playing by himself – a key thing he most certainly picked up in his earliest days as a musician busking on the streets for cash. If he had his guitar case on the ground in front of the stage I probably would have tipped him. As for Low, much of the crowd found them to be disagreeable, and I completely understand why. It’s not that they put on a bad live show, it’s more like at the end of a hot summer’s day in a spacious park, Low isn’t exactly the band you want serenading you into the evening. They’re far better in a more intimate space under the cover of blackest night. The sun was setting as they played, but a restless crowd there for free didn’t wait too long before the mass exodus started. My friends would have abandoned me had I not gone with them, but only after convincing them to stay for 3/4ths of their set. So good effort Low, hopefully things will turn out differently next time. Now, onto Pick Your Poison for today. Positively great stuff in this set from Arrange, Bad Passion, Cannon Blue, Collections of Colonies of Bees, Pillars and Tongues, along with Small Sur.