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Monday, July 02, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Ask and you shall receive, Ari and Casey.

Unfortunately, I'm quite under the weather at the moment, so I'm going to print a snippet from my upcoming SoundBites column, rather than rehash what I've been writing all day. I know this is totally cheating, but it's my party and I'll cop out if I want to.

Think of it as a sneak preview! And don't say I never gave you nuthin'.

So it was that I found myself at Shelburne Museum last Friday, seeing my old friends for the first time as professional music writer.
    If you’re looking for a hard critique of the show, stop reading right now and go pull up on your web browser. I’m sure they have plenty of self-important, hipster-chic ramblings on the decline of Wilco. I’m just not gonna be that guy.
    Are they dad-rock? Sure. Whatever. Is Tweedy’s post-rehab songwriting a bit blunt and clumsy? Absolutely. But does the new incarnation of the band still rock? You’d better believe it.
    Wilco tore through a full set and two encores sounding as vital and inventive as ever. Avant-guitarist Nels Cline not only faithfully re-created his precious work from the new disc, but added flourishes and melody lines that breathed new life into a slew of songs across the band’s hefty catalogue. “Shot In The Arm” from Summerteeth was especially impressive with Tweedy’s new toy at his side, as was Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’s “Jesus, etc.”

Hopefully that will get ball rolling. Tomorrow, I'll be happy to debate you all on the relevance of Wilco. But for now, I have to go back to bed and feel sorry for myself. Happy birthday to me . . .



Sorry you're not feeling well, but it's nice to hear a review of the band. I haven't seen them since they played the Flynn a few years back, which is ridiculous for many reasons. The museum seems a great place to see them.


As the debate rages on as to whether Wilco is an "important" band or not -- let's all take a deep breath and relax for a minute. Their performance at the Green at Shelburne Museum was simply spectacular. Wilco is clearly is one of best live acts on the road today and the blistering show last Friday night is case-in-point. In fact, I haven't seen a show in recent memory that even comes close - excepting The Arcade Fire's performance in Montreal last spring.

One thing is very clear - each of the six members of Wilco are superb musicians who are invested in what it means to play in a band. Nels Cline is a monster player who has been able to broaden their sound whether he's playing his guitar or lap steel. For my money, Glen Kotche is the most versatile and fascinating drummer around today. I recall that Tweedy once said of Kotche - "he's a musician who just happens to play the drums." Stirrat, Jorgensen and Sansone can all hold their own and add greatly to the Wilco experience.

Finally, Jeff Tweedy is one of the most important singer/song writers of his generation. He is also a vastly under appreciated guitar player as seen the other night as he ripped through a glorious feedback infused lead on "I'm the Man who Loves you." For those who have made poo-pooing "Sky Blue Sky" a sport - I challenge you to listen to the record more than a few times...then tell us what you think.

Personal highlights for me last Friday include "Muzzle of Bees," "Kamera," "Either Way," "You are my Face," and "Via Chicago." Let's all hope that they come back to Burlington later this year or next.


Thank you.

Nice column this week, by the way. And the " My Place" article was good, too. But when I read the phrase " lanky sexegenarian," I paused. Why not "sexy lankagenarian?"

PS: I had a dream last night in which I owed you two grand.


Oh yeah -- thanks to a link at SpittingOutTeeth, I heard the entire Wilco concert. Great recording, even better performance. That band is on top of its game.

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