Friday, May 16, 2008


On Wednesday night, my husband took me to my first ever Wilco show. In general, I'm not really a Wilco fan at all. Chad's been listening to them for years, and although I liked their first couple of albums like Mermaid Avenue (with Billy Bragg) and A.M., their more recent CDs just don't interest me much. I'm not saying they're not a good band--their latest release was nominated for best rock album this last year (Rock album? Really?)--I'm just saying that it's not my cup of tea. For the most part, I find Wilco way to mellow. Generally speaking, Wilco makes me want to fall asleep. My rule of thumb with music is that if it doesn't make me want to sing along or dance along, then I probably don't want to listen to it.

With all that said, since Wilco actually played right smack in the middle of downtown Lawrence on Wednesday, I felt like I should at least give them a try. There are lots of bands that are more interesting live than in the studio, so I thought maybe after seeing them in person I would grow to appreciate them more. Chad loved their concert in KC a couple of months ago, so he encouraged me to come along. I wasn't really disappointed with the show I guess, but I can't really say that I grew to love them either.

Given my preference for rockin' out at a concert, I obviously thought the set had way to many slow songs. Not only that, but the band also tends to lean towards long guitar solos and random inserts of "experimental" sounds, like weird guitar distortions and blasts of percussion in the middle of singing. They're bordering on being a jam band at times, which I absolutely can't stand. There was also way too much piano in most of their songs (for my taste) since on several numbers they actually had two guys playing keyboards! What self-respecting "rock" band even has a piano, anyway?

At first I thought maybe I just wasn't into the show because I didn't know very many of the songs. Then I thought back to my first Old 97's concert, when I went having heard only a couple of their songs once or twice, and came away as one of the biggest fans ever. The bottom line is that Wilco just doesn't float my boat.

Despite the fact that I didn't immensely enjoy most of the concert, I did really enjoy the encore. Their last several songs were ones I really liked from their first couple of albums, involving a lot more guitar and a lot more up-tempo beats. They even closed the show with my very favorite (rather obscure and very silly) Wilco song, Hoodoo Voodoo. I think that last song made the entire evening worthwhile!

Actually, the other thing that made the evening worthwhile was hanging out with our friend Jason (from high school) and almost his entire family. I hadn't spent time with his parents for years, and it was so nice to see them and most of Jason's siblings (although we missed Domi!).

I'm sure it's a huge shock, but I actually failed to bring my camera to the concert. If you're interested, you can check out more pictures and the article about the show in the Lawrence Journal-World!


Beth said...

Wilco and Beck both strike me as the 'take it or leave it' sort of band that can put out a great CD you can listen to over and over (Impossible Germany by Wilco or Sea Change by Beck) or an album that you can't stand to listen to. Each album sounds so different from the last it's hard to peg the group with a certain sound or feel...that's too bad the concert didn't make you feel better about the group...seems sort all concerts should be sort of like a baseball game to me. Fun in person, worthless on TV/radio (for those bands you don't like as much, at least).

James said...

So jealous I couldn't attend! Looks fun.