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Tuesday, December 12

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Review Sat May 12 2007

Wilco's new album gets welcome reception in rare intimate venue appearance

[A review from reader and former Transmission staffer Dan Snedigar, who was lucky enough to see Wilco last night at Northwestern.]

Rare is the opportunity these days to see Wilco, unquestionably one of the most influential bands of the past decade, in a small space with a small audience. Friday night, in what amounted to a paid warm-up for their upcoming European and American tours, frontman Jeff Tweedy and company turned in a solid two-hour performance in front of a small, young, but generally receptive audience at Northwestern’s A&O Ball in the campus’ Patten Gymnasium.

The pace started at a slow burn with three selections from the band’s new album Sky Blue Sky, set to release on Tuesday, May 15. "Impossible Germany", "Sky Blue Sky," and "You Are my Face" showcased the laid back, almost retro feel of the new album. Solid selections from 2002's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and 2004's A Ghost Is Born livened things up, and showcased Tweedy’s now cigarette-free voice which sounds better than it has in years, perhaps ever. "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart", which has become something of anthem, perked up the crowd of NU undergrads, most of whom were likely listening to Barney when the song was debuted on stage. Solid re-interpretations of songs such as "Poor Places" and "Pot Kettle Black" featured new arrangements that keep them fresh even after the mileage that the band has gotten out them over the past few years.

After closing with "I’m the Man", the band came back for an extended set of encores including "War on War", "Jesus, Etc." and "Kingpin", the deepest cut from their growing catalog. The band returned to the stage once more with an inspired "The Late Greats", the crowd-pleasing "Heavy Metal Drummer", and another track from Sky Blue Sky, "What Light".

Wilco is currently touring with its longest-lived lineup in the history of the band. This band has obviously learned to play well together, and Tweedy's improved health seems to be paying off in terms of his voice. The intimate confines and small crowd were a throwback to a time that never was; transposing their current powerhouse lineup to the late 1990s or 2000, before the release of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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Editor: Sarah Brooks, sarah@gapersblock.com
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