Long live rock, I need it every night

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Recalling Wilco

Wilco - with John Doe - February 26, 2008 - 9:30 Club ($41)

Just for the record, which has been rather spotty recently, RC had a pseudo-legitimate outing to see Wilco a week and a half ago, and it has gone unreported. Jumboslice, Mrs. Jumboslice, and I ventured out to the 9:30 club for the first night of two nights of down home alt-country, roots rock, whatever you want to call it, in our Nation's Capital. Since it was so long ago, and no one really cares anymore, this will be brief.

First, we barely reached the quorum for the show and the tickets were over $20, hence the questionable legitimacy of this outing. As most folks know, I'm a stickler for the rules. Anyhow, the Jumboslices picked me up and we found my favorite 9:30 club parking space available for our use. By the way, it should be noted that Jumboslice can park a car. It's a skill I doubt he'll get to showcase in Austin, but the man's got talent.

We arrived unusually early, so early in fact, that I think we caught all but one song from opening act John Doe. John Doe wasn't bad, by the way. But I'm not in his demographic. My dad would probably love John Doe as both seem to think they are more hip than they actually are. It'll happen to me, if it hasn't already, so that's not meant to be insulting, just the way it is. Anyhow, even for getting to the 9:30 Club early, it was crowded. And it only got crowded-er. By 9:00pm, it was packed and my spot on the stairs next to the VIP area was getting tight, but I had a good view and good sound.

It should be known that I am not a big Wilco fan, even though I've been exposed to this band for 11 years now. My roommate in grad school was a big Uncle Tupelo, Wilco, Son Volt fan and I heard enough of it to the point where I could have become a fan myself. But I didn't. It never really did much for me, yet I did enjoy the Billy Bragg/Wilco Mermaid Avenue albums quite a bit. Still, I am never motivated to play the few Wilco tracks that I have, and yet the fanaticism of others about this band has made me often wonder what I've been missing.

So when presented with the opportunity to see Wilco in concert, I figured maybe they're one of those bands that work better in person (Allman Brothers, anyone?) and decided to give them another try. The result, here's what I texted back to Jumboslice during the show:

JS: [paraphrasing] Are you liking this?

P: More or less... It's one of those bands that you need to know the words to appreciate. I like it fine, but I don't need two hours of it.

JS: I really like Wilco, but there are people here who LOVE them.

P: Yeah, I've yet to understand that about this band. I keep waiting for something to click. I think a brownie might help.

So there you have it. I liked them fine, but I don't find their music particularly accessible. I feel like you have to go on a few too many dates with their songs before you can have a relationship with them.

But they sounded great, and the crowd was in to it, singing along, a few hippies dancing, which doesn't happen in DC enough if you ask me. Jeff Tweedy is also good with the jibber jabber. He's funny and quick witted enough to pull off the banter without creating anxiety or annoyance among the crowd. However, I don't think Wilco would help me score any points with the ladies. Maybe on a long drive across country, but even then, I'm not so sure.


Jumbo Slice said...

Nice work Potsy. Thanks for picking up the slack (mine).

I'd consider myself a pretty big Wilco fan. I even like their latest album (everyone else seemed luke warm at best). However, the 9:30 Club was packed to the gills w/ Wilco superfans. Something about these guys inspires a level of fandom you just don't see in other bands.

The wife wasn't familiar with Wilco before the show. She thought was one of the guys in the band was named Wilco. So I just kept refering to Jeff Tweedy as Roger Wilco. Her favorite part was Jeff Tweedy's clap-happy dancing. It reminded my her of me, drunk and pantsless, dancing with my dog.

Potsy said...

I forgot to mention a particularly amusing part of the show. It was in the last few seconds of a particular tune which called for Jeff Tweedy to hit a high note, perhaps a bit out of his natural range. So as he struggled a bit to reach the high note, faltering, Tweedy interrupted his singing and broke into a brief discussion of David Lee Roth's vocal tracks on Runnin' With the Devil, as was discussed here: http://www.dcrockclub.com/2008/02/this-is-not-test-of-emergency-broadcast.html
Giving a solid impression of DLR's "haaaaayaaaa!", Tweedy concluded the song, still unable to hit the high note, but he was was charming in his failure.

KCG said...

I'm with Potsy on this one. I feel like I really should love Wilco because my friends with similar tastes LOVE them, but I just ain't feelin it. I have the same problem with Radiohead and Tom Petty. I like them in theory, but I never care to listen to them. Maybe I need counseling.

Jimbromski said...

one one 1 one 11111 one 11

I like the Wilco but own none of their stuff.

Did you know "wilco" stands for "will comply"? So you're on the walkie-talkie, you say, roger, wilco. That means I got it, consider it done. My dear old dad filled me in on that one.