February 17, 1997 |
"You still love rock and roll," crooned front man Jeff Tweedy, opening Wilco's show at the Trocadero Friday night with "Misunderstood," the lead track from Wilco's 19-song double album, Being There. It was a fitting beginning to a show that played like a tribute to rock's grand tradition. Tweedy isn't shy about wearing both his heart and his influence on his sleeve. Wilco blazed through a diverse set of material that gave nods to Exile on Main Street-era Rolling Stones on "Casino Queen," the Big Pink era of the Band on "Kingpin," and Pet Sounds-Beach Boys on "Outtasite (Outta Mind)
February 25, 2008 |
On Saturday night at the Tower Theater, Wilco was merely great. The qualifying "merely" is hard to explain, because, on its face, the show had all the makings of a bragging-rights concert experience. Totally jazzed, way-sold-out crowd? Check. Storied, acoustically friendly venue? Check. Legendary opening act, one John Doe, tragically ignored by most in favor of the beer line? Check. Must-see headliners with a live rep for fireworks ready to throw down? Check. Perhaps the only thing missing was the element of surprise.
May 15, 2007 |
Being regarded as America's most important rock-and-roll band must get overwhelming after a while. Sure, Jeff Tweedy asked for it, with a series of albums that telegraphed Wilco's artistic seriousness, from the double-disc Being There in 1996 to the avant-noise experiments on A Ghost Is Born in 2004. But on Sky Blue Sky (Nonesuch . ), the Chicago sextet's sixth album, Tweedy sounds relieved not to have to worry about his reputation anymore. Instead of coming off like an art project - a weakness of both the migraine-inspired A Ghost Is Born and its ballyhooed predecessor, 2002's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot - Sky Blue Sky is content with the sound of five musicians standing around a room, enjoying playing music together.
June 20, 2004 |
After months of struggling with panic attacks and increasing dependence on prescription painkillers for his chronic migraines, Wilco singer-songwriter Jeff Tweedy felt like a cliche: "I didn't want to admit to the world that I was the stereotype" of the rock-and-roll addict. "I probably could have gotten help sooner if I wasn't so appalled by the connotation," Tweedy says from his Chicago home, explaining the health crisis that delayed the release of Wilco's jarring fifth album, A Ghost Is Born (Nonesuch . . out of four stars)
April 28, 1999 |
There was a moment during Wilco's sold-out show at the Theatre of Living Arts Monday night when if you had turned your back, you would have sworn you were listening to Dylan and The Band circa The Basement Tapes. The song was "She's a Jar" from Summer Teeth, Wilco's best and most eccentric recording to date. Amid the warbling swells of calliope and the hazy lyricism, Jeff Tweedy, Wilco's frontman, struck the classic Dylanesque pose with acoustic guitar and harmonica. Those are mighty big shoes to fill, but then again Wilco is the Bigfoot of the current roots-rock scene.
October 1, 2001 |
Near the end of "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart," the first song Wilco performed Saturday at the Electric Factory, guitarist and singer Jeff Tweedy dropped to his knees and began turning dials on sound-shaping devices. He soon enough changed the song, one of several from the band's unreleased new work, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot: The melody dissolved into distorted machine noise; its singer-songwriterly proclamation became aural chaos. It was a fitting start. In the years since 1999's acclaimed Summerteeth, Tweedy has evidently grown restless with rock business as usual.
June 10, 1995 |
It took Wilco a long while to get going at the Theater of Living Arts on Thursday night. The first hour of the roots-rock quintet's show was flat and poorly paced. Beginning with a slowed-down cover of Doug Sahm's "Give Back the Key to My Heart," the group couldn't gather any momentum, and it didn't help that a bad sound mix rendered Max Johnston's fiddle, banjo and Dobro almost inaudible. Save for the stutter-step "Too Far Apart" and John Stirrat's yearning "It's Just That Simple," none of the warm-hearted, country-tinged tunes from the band's A.M. (Sire/Reprise)
September 27, 2011 |
It's not easy for a rock band to maintain creative momentum over a decade and a half and, truth be told, Wilco's career has had its ebbs and flows since the group led by Jeff Tweedy released its engagingly rootsy debut, A.M. , in 1995. With its last two efforts - 2007's bucolic Sky Blue Sky and 2009's ingratiating Wilco (The Album) - the Chicago sextet seemed to have settled into a comfortable middle age. A perfectly pleasant bunch of guys to hang around with, but with their daring days behind them.
February 14, 1997 |
When it first occurred to Jeff Tweedy to call Wilco's second album Being There, he wasn't thinking of the 1979 Peter Sellers movie about a simple gardener whose every utterance is misunderstood as a statement of great profundity. The former coleader of much-mythologized country-punk band Uncle Tupelo simply hit upon the title for his group's stylistically expansive double-CD follow-up to their 1995 roots-rock debut, A.M., because "being there" is "what music is about, and what being in a band and making a record is about.
February 21, 2003 |
Since his departure from Wilco in 2001, Jay Bennett has kept busy. The multi-instrumentalist/singer-songwriter teamed last year with longtime friend Edward Burch to release The Palace at 4 A.M., where the beauty of his mixed-in-heaven production and leathery voice singing what sound like undiscovered gems from Elvis Costello and Rockpile doesn't really hit you until the third or fourth listen. In between constant touring and recording an acoustic version of Palace called Palace 1919, Bennett has found time to produce other artists, such as the Sun. The Columbus, Ohio, group's debut EP, Love & Death (Reprise)