How Low made everyone furious at Pitchfork Music Festival
Not a photograph of the author of this post. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Photo by Erik Hess
Last month, Low played a universally acclaimed set at Rock the Garden. Everyone in attendance -- and we especially mean everyone on Twitter -- eagerly applauded this 27-minute rendition of one song as an artistic triumph. And then, out of nowhere, the Duluth trio pulled a complete 180 this past weekend at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago with a performance that was baffling and self-indulgent. In fact, it basically ruined the whole festival for everybody.
Fortunately, we here at Gimme Noise are bigger than to hold a grudge, so we'll throw a bone out to Alan Sparhawk, Mimi Parker, and Steve Garrington before they burn all their bridges. And yes, we're 100 percent serious.*
Among the atrocities inflicted, these five stood out as particularly egregious.
Playing more than one song. There was that one song that you played that one time that we all kinda really liked. It was called "Drone Not Drones" or something like that. Anyway, that's basically all that we wanted to hear. But what'd we get? A whole bunch of love songs. Lame. We can't think of anything more pretentious than a band who think they have several different songs worth playing. Get over yourselves, dudes.
Not making a political statement. Speaking of those love songs: not cool. If there's anything that Low is known for, it's for being a political band. Sure, none of us actually know what the hell the significance is of Obama knowing how to waltz, but it doesn't really matter. The point is that it was somehow important, and we totally agree with that. Love songs, on the other hand, are basically just self-absorbed. If we wanted to pay a ton of money to hear someone be in love with themselves, we would've gone to Phish.
Thinking they're comedians. So maybe we missed something here, Low, but last time we checked you were a "slowcore" "band." Based on what we know about slowcore -- which isn't a lot, we're proud to say -- we're pretty sure there are a few rules about how to carry yourself. Namely, you should be really serious when you perform, if not even a little sad. At the bare minimum, be completely non-communicative. So what does Alan say? "You look dirty. But that's what I like about you"? Gross.
Trying to be rock stars. It was bad enough that Sparhawk wore tight white pants on Saturday. Like, yeah, okay man. But then he had all that scruff on his face, which not only made him look kind of homeless, it made him all the more ruggedly handsome. (Um, Minnesotans are more modest than that.) The worst part, though? He kept dancing around while he was playing, making faces and getting all into things like he was having fun and rocking out. Here's a thought: If that's how it's gonna be, maybe try having fewer guitar solos next time. There were at least three.
Doing a Rihanna cover. We don't even know where to start on this one. We'll try, though. First off, pop music suuuucks. If we wanted to hear a Rihanna song, we'd go to a concert called Last Chance Summer Star Jam Party Dance or something. Not the Pitchfork Festival. Second off, if we wanted to hear a Rihanna song, it'd be "Umbrella" or "S.O.S" or "S&M" or maybe "Love the Way You Lie." No, it would definitely be "Man Down." But we don't really know her stuff, so whatever. In fact, no one knew it was even her song until some gatekeeper said so on the Twitter. We want our money back. "Greetings from Lake Superior," indeed.
* When we say "100 percent serious," we actually mean no, we're not serious at all. Low's great, duh.
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