Questions linger over Duluth band Low's baffling Rock the Garden set


Duluth band Low's nearly half-hour set that consisted of one song at Saturday's Rock the Garden music festival still has critics and music fans buzzing.

City Pages writer Steven Fischer proclaimed in his headline that the band's set -- a slow, 27-minute version of their 1996 song "Do You Know How to Waltz?" -- "totally ruled."

Fischer did, however, acknowledge that the band's singular song choice -- labeled "drone music" because of its sustained and repeated sounds -- wasn't everybody's cup of tea (or lime beverage).

"For many attendees, what they heard was the equivalent of someone hocking a loogie in their Lemongrass Limeade," Fischer wrote.

MPR's Bob Collins examines the controversy and asks: What do artists owe you?

The tweets City Pages published won't be re-printed here, mainly because they included a lot of F-words used by fans to blast the performance.

In the Star Tribune review of the concert, music critic Chris Riemenschneider wrote that some Rock the Garden attendees were "genuinely angry and disgusted" with the band's set, while "others, mostly longtime fans, were nothing short of thrilled."

And "everyone was baffled," he wrote.

In an interview published Monday in the Star Tribune, Low band member Alan Sparhawk explained to Riemenschneider that "a combo of things" led to the band's decision to go the one-song route.

Sparhawk claimed that the they "weren't trying to do anything punk" or "pull one over on people."

"It was just kind of a weird atmosphere, people coming in during the rain, not really knowing where to go," Sparhawk said. "And then we found out our set had to be a little shorter than planned, to get the schedule on track. So we decided to try to do something beautiful."

Here are some mildly-worded fan tweets about Low's drone performance at Rock the Garden.

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