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Wilco - the Band of our time?
Last Post 4/26/2007 3:45 AM by mixtapepublicity. 10 Replies.
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stephen
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4/22/2007 12:22 AM
    Allo all.

    I was lucky enough to see Wilco play their first ever Sydney headlining show last night... they showcased a number of tunes from their new album. Have a read here and let me know what you think.

    S

    Peejay
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    4/23/2007 7:02 AM
    Nice review. I did a double take of your thread title, I thought it said "Wilco - a band out of time". I have to say, your comments about the new material doesn't fill me with much enthusiasm. I haven't heard any of it yet (though I think its streamed on their website at the moment) but I saw a clip on YouTube of them playing a new song called 'Thanks I Get' and my only thought was I hope this doesn't make the album. Its an alright song, pleasant and singalongy, in fact they ask the audience to singalong with them, but in the past, far better songs than this have remained on the cutting room floor. I have a horrible feeling Tweedy might be going down the harmless and forgettable soft-rock road (more like quant little cobble-stone pavement). But, I'll reserve judgement until I hear the album properly.

    As for similarities with The Band, I can't really see it to be honest. Wilco seems to be an ever changing roster of musicians while The Band remained a constant unit from 1967 to 1976. Each musician had his own identity and was just as much a driving force as the chief songwriter. Chest Fever wouldn't have been the same without Garths massive organ (fnarr fnarr), nobody could have sung Unfaithful Servant but Rick, nobody could have sung The Night the Drove old Dixie but Levon, noody could have sung Tears of Rage but Richard and nobody could have played an acoustic solo like Robbie on Unfaithful Servant.

    Wilco on the other hand have two keyboard players at the moment who are very good, I think one of them doubles on guitar, but are probably replaceable. At times Nels Clines guitar playing ranges from absolutely glorious (those static noises at the end of Handshake Drugs on KT) to ill-suited and over the top.

    Maybe there's a similarity in terms of soaking up so many different influences and making something whole out of all those different strands but Wilco certainly aren't the only ones doing this at the moment.

    If you ask me, he should never have sacked Bennett. I bet history will prove it was all down hill from there from Wilco.
    stephen
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    4/23/2007 7:57 AM
    Hey Peejay... thanks for replying. Good to know some people are reading these bloody Blogs!

    You make some interesting points. Your analysis of the new songs is, without your knowing, very close to the mark. The new album does hark back to Fleetwood Mac, even Thin Lizzy in places. It is very different to Yankee and Ghost is Born - definitely more accessible. There is quality there though. I think it will provoke some fascinating debate.

    As for my allusion to the Band... I was thinking of the gig more in terms of its feel. Vocal harmonies, guitar and keyboard meshing seamlessly, Tweedy's voice is so much more soulful these days and it really reminded me of Levon Helm. The chemistry between the musicians and the tightness of the sound is reminiscent of the Last Waltz but, more importantly, the Band seemed to carry the weight of American music on their shoulders - I think Wilco have, in their own way, distilled country, rock, soul, indie and all that's good about American music.

    I do think some of Cline's guitar licks are more Lizzy than Wilco... but he certainly adds to the live dymanic. I saw Wilco in the Olympia quite a few years back on their Summerteeth tour and it's still, quite possibly, the greatest gig of my life. And Jay Bennett was simply extraordinary. His departure has prompted Yankee and Ghost though - two classic albums to these ears. Indeed, I consider Summerteeth to be the worst of their releases.
    Peejay
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    4/23/2007 9:30 AM
    Summerteeth the worst? Thats surprises me. To me its one of the finest albums of the 90's, its almost as if Tweedy wanted to persue the popier elements of Being There and I think Bennett maybe brought that out of him. No bad thing. Maybe the production is a little heavy but almost ten years later that album still stands on its own. I wouldn't like to choose between that and Being There but both are certainly better than the debut, which is dated and a bit lacking in good songwriting.

    Bennett made a huge contribution to Yankee Hotel aswell, in fact it was probably completely finished (bar the final mix) before he was ousted from the band, so I don't think YHF should be thought of as a post-Bennett Wilco album. I think he proved to be a good foil for Tweedy, he pushed him to extremes (who saw Yankee coming?), maybe because of friendship or maybe because of competition and one-up-manship. Either way, the results speak for themselves. A Ghost is Born is a tremendous album, but to me it feels like a step back to familiarity, by the sounds of it this new album is moreso. Who's to know if Bennett would have made any difference if he'd remained? I think he could only have benefited the music though (even if it meant keeping Jeff miserable, he's clearly a better songwriter at these times.)


    (yeah, bit of a ghost town around here the moment)
    aidan
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    4/24/2007 12:51 PM
    Any hardcore Wilco fans despairing that they won't come to Eire should consider travelling somewhere in Europe to see them. For instance, their Paris gig on May 29 has plenty of tickets left. Here's a link to the English-language version of FNAC's page for booking a ticket for Wilco in Paris on May 29:

    http://www.fnacspectacles.com/place-spectacle/manifestation/Pop-rock-WILCO-BA295.htm?_x=x&_lang=en
    hugh
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    4/25/2007 12:21 PM
    I think the new album is fantastic. Granted, it's a lot more conventional and less experimental sounding than the last two, but it's choc-full of great songs and superb playing. Sometimes less is more, you know? I'm really envious of anyone who's managing to catch them on tour at the moment.
    eoghan
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    4/25/2007 4:08 PM
    Posted By aidan on 24 Apr 2007 12:51 PM
    Any hardcore Wilco fans despairing that they won't come to Eire should consider travelling somewhere in Europe to see them. For instance, their Paris gig on May 29 has plenty of tickets left. Here's a link to the English-language version of FNAC's page for booking a ticket for Wilco in Paris on May 29:

    http://www.fnacspectacles.com/place-spectacle/manifestation/Pop-rock-WILCO-BA295.htm?_x=x&_lang=en

    And at the time of writing 193 tickets are still available for their 30 May Belgian gig (in the very fine city of Ghent and the even finer evirons of the Vooruit theatre). Tickets can be booked here (click on the button labelled 'Bestel' and follow the instructions, in English). Just 27 euros a ticket. A flight to Brussels Charleroi on May 30, returning May 31st is coming up at 40 yo yos, taxes included with Ryanair (or 90 notes with Aer Lingus). It's then a 2 or so hour train ride to Ghent.
    mixtapepublicity
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    4/26/2007 2:18 AM
    Posted By stephen on 22 Apr 2007 12:22 AM

    I was lucky enough to see Wilco play their first ever Sydney headlining show last night...


    I saw Wilco headline a gig in the Metro in Sydney in 2003, with support from the brilliant Gelbison.

    I'd LOVE to go fecking off around Europe after them, must check if there are any weekend dates that are achievable.
    stephen
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    4/26/2007 2:27 AM
    Ah... their press blurb said that the Metro was a "club" gig as Wilco were playing one of the big outdoor festivals, the Big Day Out. The Metro would have been a fantastic place to see them.
    mixtapepublicity
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    4/26/2007 2:31 AM
    The Metro was a great place alright, closed now yeah? I was lucky enough to see them there that night, and then see them the following afternoon at the Big Day Out, beautiful sunshiny day, beer in hand... Ah Sydney.
    mixtapepublicity
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    4/26/2007 3:45 AM
    Damn you all, now I'm looking into going to Barcelona to the Primavera Festival to see Wilco on 2nd June... I can't afford it though, can I?!
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