I spent most of today recovering from all of yesterday. It involved a light nap, some book reading (The Original 1982), some record listening (“Personal Record“), and some Buffy-watching (the one where John Ritter plays Joyce’s robot boyfriend).
I needed the recovery because yesterday I broke my four-year dry spell and attended a live-music event. I didn’t intend to take a four-year break, but it happened. When I lost my last “real job” I decided concerts were a frivolous expense I was not willing to make, but then my niece Jaycie expressed a desire to Rock the Garden. So in the middle of a monsoon we set out from our suburb and ventured forth to the Sculpture Garden prepared to rock.
Well, she was going to rock and I was going to sit in the grass, watch people, and listen to music. I was only really interested in seeing Low and Bob Mould, but mostly Low because I have seen Bob so many times I refer to him as Uncle Bob and I was Low-curious.
Boy howdy that came to a not-so-abrupt end when Low decided to subject the garden rockers to a 27-minute wall of noise in the form of some sort of droning, bullshit guitar solo type thing. It was awful. First of all, I hate long guitar solos. It’s the #1 reason I stopped seeing Wilco live, I couldn’t take all that guitar masturbation all over my ears. I don’t find it masterful or entertaining or any of that. It just annoys the fuck out of me and makes me cranky.
Now, here’s a little known fact about one Ms. Jodi Chromey. I have a near phobic fear of being stuck somewhere and being bored. Like really-long, boring meetings give me panic attacks. Holiday Parties I am made to attend? Panic city. In fact, I had my very first panic attack (only we didn’t call them that) when I was about 15 and stuck at a restaurant with my parents and some of their friends. We were there for hours. I thought I was dying.
I very nearly got to the thought I was dying stage of the panic attack during Low’s “song.” I had that itchy, fluttery chest thing going on, and I could feel the tears and shallow breaths approaching. Thankfully before the panic took hold, they knocked that bullshit off by espousing “Drone, not drones.”
WHAT THE FUCK EVER.
Now, I spent a portion of my boring Sunday arguing about the Low performance 140-characters at a time. I get that some people enjoyed. I get that some people think 27-minute droning guitar noise/”instrumentals” are keen. Fine.
I also get that we were at the Walker Art Center and that perhaps what Low was doing was art.
However, I still call bullshit. If you have to explain the point your music is making by saying “drone, not drones” then your music is not making a point.
Then what are we left with? 27-minutes of unpleasant, upsetting noise that from my vantage point felt openly hostile to the audience. To me it seemed like Low was pissed about something and was taking it out on my ears.
Now, if this were their concert alone, I’d be all “get on with your bad selves Low, use your platform.” However, this was a festival with a lot of bands in the line-up, and when you’re #2 in a line-up of five, chances are the audience might not be as familiar with your work. So why pull such an asshole stunt? I don’t get it. Maybe they were only playing to their “true fans” or the people most likely to become “real fans” whatever. I do give them credit for risk-taking and getting people talking. However, I will not be shelling out any more of my dollars on Low. Fool me once and all that.
Well, apparently I had more to say about Low than I had intended. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s rant on faux hippie hipster assholes who ruin everything. It promises to be just as rantalicious as the Low rant but with more patchouli!
The “It’s (Insert Day of Week) and I’m Boring” is a series that Christa and I do to pay homage to the beauty of old-school blogging. (I totally copied this nice explanation from Christa).
My weekend also involved Buffy and The Original 1982. No Low, though.
What do you think of The Original 1982 so far? It feels, um, off to me but I can’t figure out why yet.
I’m on page 46. I haven’t noticed anything annoying or off yet, but there is a chance that I’m rooting so hard for the author that I’m not even noticing her mistakes.
I’m loving all the chatter on this Low thing. So fun to follow!
Me too! It’s the most-fun “controversy” I’ve taken part in in a long time. Even if I’m pro-it-sucked, I’m also on the side of “STFU nobody owes you anything.” Art is confusing, which is kind of rad.
I’m on Team “I Don’t Like 27 Minute Songs” but I’m also on Team “Meh, Second Act of the Day, Keep it Weird.” So we must be in the same place. The best part is that you got to witness it. The Star Tribune story is my favorite: No comment from The Current and AS saying that if he was in the audience, he would have liked it.
I think the Current was saving their comment for their own site. Jim McGuinn has a pretty lengthy comment on Andrea Swensson’s piece about whether or not Low “owes” you anything ( I say no, but I also say I will not shell out money for another one of their concerts).
What I found the most interesting about AS’s comments in the STrib were the “how many people have already seen us?” which I take as he felt like he had to give the crowd something new, and so many of the pro-Low-drone are all “if you knew Low at all, you’d know this is what they’re like.” So it seems to me that AS WAY WAY overestimated the audience’s familiarity with the band.
I have to chase down The Current stuff. I’ve only read the live blog from the show.
I did in fact say the words: “I doubt Low is looking for new fans” today and then felt justified in saying that when I read AS’s thing about how many people had already seen them.
I wish I had known they had reached their fan quota, I wouldn’t have shelled out $55 to see them. At least Metric was a delightful surprise.
I love Metric.
I can see why. I was only sort of familiar with them pre-show, and really loved Gimme Sympathy. But now, yeah, I can see why they are well-loved. She kicks ass.
“Nurse, get this patient 10 cc of entertainment, stat!”
I dig your writing style, I’m glad I discovered your page!