The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Wilco impresses live

Someone who has heard “Wilco” the album or read its reviews will know that it is an album by a band neither breaking new ground nor stagnating, but simply the sound of a group of extremely talented musicians in their element having fun. While this may or may not be a positive for an album (although in my opinion it most certainly is), there is no question that it translates to a stellar live show.

This is why when Wilco came on stage at the Palladium Ballroom Friday night and tore through the first seven songs without even a break to say hello, the show seemed to have been going on forever and to have just gotten started at the same time.

With the crowd already mesmerized by the almost-too-silly opener “Wilco” the song and the always-mind-boggling “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart,” the band looked fresh as if they were playing their first set after a summer off.

Singer Jeff Tweedy proceeded to explain the logistics of picking a set list night after night and stayed completely giddy for the rest of the evening. At one point, Tweedy traded his signature flannel shirt for a hideous ’80s gold-lamé top belonging to a lucky audience member whom Tweedy was at first ready to sacrifice to the “fashion police,” in his own words.

The band must have been fresh after the first seven songs, because they played a behemoth 135 minutes, including two rather symbolic encores, rivaling, if I’m not mistaken, even the seemingly-unending Radiohead show in Dallas last summer.

They finished the marathon concert with three consecutive rockers and lots of crowd participation. Throughout the concert, Tweedy and company looked as ecstatic as five-year-olds with a bubble machine, adding riffs and embellishments to songs old and new, showcasing so well the talent that created the masterpiece that is “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.”

Wilco’s last two albums are noteworthy in that they are the first consecutive albums made by the same Wilco lineup, and it shows, with the band members perfectly matching each other’s energy and improvisation, or at least what improvisation there can be after the relentless amount of touring the band does.

The sometimes frighteningly controlled, sometimes completely unbridled playing of guitarist Nels Cline deserves special mention, because only during a live show is it evident just how much he adds to the atmosphere and detail of Wilco’s current sound. What he adds through his skillful playing and various pedals cannot be rivaled, and if his technique was ever in question, he has proven himself tenfold with the mind-blowing solo during “Impossible Germany,” a song that seems, in retrospect, to be written for him alone.

It is not a stretch to say that Wilco is currently one of the most talented active bands, but it is without doubt that their live show can stand its own against any big name band, past or present.

(By the way, the opener was on par with the headliner, so check out Liam Finn while you’re at it; you won’t be disappointed.)

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