Lo Moon valiantly tries to rise at the Teragram Ballroom

Lo Moon at the Teragram Ballroom (Photo by Jessica Hanley)
Lo Moon at the Teragram Ballroom (Photo by Jessica Hanley)

If you cobbled together all the scenes from Lo Moon’s concert Tuesday night that’d be appropriate for an action movie, you’d get, oh, maybe 45 seconds of footage. Frontman Matt Lowell at peak emoting. A fleeting glimpse of bassist Crisanta Baker, digging deep. Guitarist Sam Stewart, bless him, milking the fuzzy rock and shoegazing passages for all they’re worth.

Even among the heavily KCRW “Morning Becomes Eclectic” types populating the Teragram Ballroom, it was hard to tell whether heads were nodding to the music or nodding off. It wasn’t The xx-level boring, but it did make one wish for a date, a couch and some flannel NPR jammies they should sell at shows like this.

Such is the dilemma for bands that make “headphones albums,” which is what the trio’s debut “Lo Moon” is. It’s very easy listening at that, trading in a silky ambiance that, except for brushstrokes of cinematic sweep that lead to some spine-tingling crescendos, is absent much in the way of surprise. It’s pretty in the way so much well-produced music is these days. And without an epic light show or a frontman who can engage the audience outside of the songs, Lo Moon on Tuesday was merely pretty without being riveting.

In Lo Moon’s first hometown show since the release of the album, their pristine recital started with the surging lead track, “This Is It,” but its momentum dwindled in the shimmer of “The Right Thing” and yacht-rocky “Thorns.” “Wonderful Life” bounced into the band’s cover of Prefab Sprout’s “Bonny” (1985) and “Tried to Make You My Own.”

Lowell then soared through the sublime ballad “My Money.” He earnestly thanked those in the crowd who supported the band from the beginning, and for “spreading the gospel,” before the main set ended with “Camouflage” and the arching single “Real Love.” He returned to start the encore solo with “All In” before the band closed triumphantly with the aching, celestial 7 1/2 minutes of “Loveless.” As a soundtrack to watching old love letters turn yellow, it’s perfect. Even better on headphones.

Photos by Jessica Hanley