Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wilco Live Review- Rewrite

Hey all. I rewrote my Wilco review for the school paper. Here's the new version. Thoughts?

Baltimore's Lyric Opera House is a gorgeous building even better sound, and alt.country band Wilco took full advantage of that last Sunday with a tight set that was evenly culled from their six studio albums.

The group’s 24-song, two-encore show was stuffed with new favorites like the bluesy “Hate It Here” as well as older cuts reaching back to their 1995 debut “A.M.” (the rollicking “Box Full of Letters” was a highlight). Even though the line-up has changed considerably since their inception, the sextet played as if they've been together their whole lives. Loose songs got looser, loud songs got louder, and everything just sounded how music is supposed to sound.

After opening with the mellow, harmonica-tinged “Sunken Treasure,” Jeff Tweedy & Co. got the extremely receptive crowd even more enthusiastic by wedging scorching jams into many of their songs. The audience hit its peak when the band segued from “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” opener “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” to 11-minute jam “Spiders (Kidsmoke),” which showcased guitarist Nels Cline’s absurd ability to shred.

One of the most compelling things about Wilco’s live performance is how rather than jamming melodically, their songs morph into beautifully dissonant soundscapes. "Spiders" was the best example of that, but set closers "I Got You (At The End of the Century)" and "Outtasite (Outta Mind)" also built skyscrapers of wonderfully orchestrated noise, with Cline’s blistering solos and chord progressions at the vanguard.

Aside from the stellar music, Tweedy's stage banter was right on point. After noticing a man with a neck brace, he asked if he could wear it and the sported it throughout "Kingpin.” Tweedy elicited loud cheers when he forgot a line in "Jesus Etc." and later explained it was because he was thinking about Baltimore-set television show “The Wire,” and wondering if popular character Omar was at the concert.

Tweedy didn't babble too much, and let the music speak for itself. "California Stars" and "Heavy Metal Drummer" got the crowd to sing-along while older numbers like "Forget the Flowers" and the twangy "It's Just That Simple" were extremely well-received by the appreciative crowd.
The band has immense talent, not just in songwriting but in execution and sheer ability. Each member was on point, adding muscle to even the most lighthearted and jaunty song (the peppy "Walken" was especially strong on stage). Wilco is currently on tour opening for Neil Young, but they made a special stop to headline their own show and proved that one day Neil Young could be opening for them.

Picture stolen with love from Charles Harris. If you want me to take it down, just ask!

Hired @ BYT!

The other day I was hired as a writer for the DC blog Brightest Young Things. Here's my first post there!