Chimpomatic

Wilco

Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

For a while now Wilco have been the final frontier when it comes to live music. In the last few years many of the greats have been ticked off my list and tonight the final pillar was going to fall. Wilco certainly didn't disappoint. You could divide this gig into two distinct sections - before Jeff Tweedy addressed the crowd and after. Ploughing through 3 choice cuts from the new album and some Wilco classics including I Am Trying To Break Your Heart it seemed Tweedy was here to do a professional job and get the hell out of there. Then the surprisingly charismatic frontman decided to include us in their fun and the whole night took off. And after that it went pretty much as I'd expected, which is good - as I expected nothing short of greatness.

Wilco have never been the kind of band to come out punching with soaring anthems or fancy pyrotechnics so it wasn't until mid-way through that their brilliance fully seeps in and you stand there totally porous to their genius. That's when songs like At Least That's What You Said, Hummingbird and A Shot In The Arm envelop you in their warmth and you are forever changed. Glen Kotche's drumming was, as expected, the back bone to this stunning performance, and new signing Nels Kline frequently took new tracks like Impossible Germany and the beautiful You Are My Face to dazzling heights as he frantically throttled the neck of his guitar. But it was the awesome rendition of the epic Spiders (Kidsmoke) that totally stole the show and took it stellar. I have always considered A Ghost Is Born to be Wilco's finest and this reinforced my opinion. During the 10 minute marathon of climbing guitars, heavy drumming and swirling sound effects this band became something else. This song alone puts them in their own category and though Sky Blue Sky sees them opting for time out of this category for a while their place will always be guaranteed. It was a pleasure to be in the company of this band and its music.

BC - 4 Stars

As a powerhouse band Wilco seem to be getting better and better, with some great contributions from the new boys coming up through the ranks, and notably the Clapton-suited summer signing Nels Cline up front proving some major firepower. Jeff Tweedy holds his own in a guitar duel however, of which there were plenty - mostly more full on and rocking than I could have ever anticipated.

In a live setting the quiet/loud formula of many of the tracks was more apparent - even on many pre A Ghost Is Born numbers, and certainly on beefed up renditions of some of the Sky Blue Sky highlights, such as Side With The Seeds. Many of the more low-key songs like Poor Places and Via Chicago were given a fleshed out majesty by the full band that made them sound better than ever with the finer details or the effects, keyboards and backing vocals more richly presented. Surprisingly the big stand out for me was Woody Guthries Airline to Heaven, which found the band firing on all 6 cylinders to magical effect.... and there was even room for an extra Nels Cline solo.

After the crowd got into the swing of it, Tweedy lightened up and things really picked up getting better and better. This is a man I never thought I would see doing the running man, but there you go. With two extended encores it seemed like we were in Wilco heaven, and with the introduction of Bill Fay for a rendition of his Be Not So Fearful we were provided with a touching tribute to some of the bands roots and influences. Fantastic.

CSF - 4.5 Stars

just to add to the dedicated tweedy-watchers above. for some reason i had them filed in the wrong side side of my alt country factfile for years, have to say i'm glad we've put in the conversion hours at chimp towers to get me up to speed. have only really got round to absorbing the last two albums, but enjoyed everything they played. totally concur on Spiders (Kidsmoke) being the stand-out moment - love those loooong jams where everything cruises and then explodes. Impossible Germany had a great solo to finish it off, loved the freak-out stuff on Via Chicago and that last Bill Fay track was a very sweet closer. never really noticed the beatles influence on the wilco sound before, suddenly felt like i was watching a kind of US indie version of Wings (a good thing in my book). great playing from the whole band, and good to hear a band rocking out without just turning up the amps to 11. 

brought 3 other newbies w me; all walked out converts which leads me to award a pretty conclusive...

4 Stars - c71 


Links

Wilcoworld
MySpace

Tags

#Chimpomatic
#Music

22nd May 2007 - Tumblr

4.5

News

Reviews

Articles

Surveillance

Related

Bob Dylan

Brixton Academy, London

Best of 2007

R.Hammerstein

Deerhoof

Friend Opportunity

On Fillmore

Extended Vacation

Latitude Festival

Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk

The National

High Violet

Wilco

Troxy, London

Ad Astra

Incredibly stylish and wannabe cerebral sci-fi, that’s ultimately a little thin.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

19th Jul 2020

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Search

First Man

Underwhelming space drama that’s a bit too intimate and not very epic.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

5th Jul 2020

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Blue Story

Dire, tension-free postcode gang drama. Just add drama.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

21st Jun 2020

Read more 1 star reviews

Apollo 11

Magnificent documentary, re-assembling the moon landing from beautifully remastered footage.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

14th Jun 2020

Read more 4 star reviews

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

The 8th slow-paced Tarantino pic. Literally half entertaining / boring.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

24th May 2020

Read more 2.5 star reviews

Yesterday

Entertaining Brit-com, though it’s a bit on-the-beaten-path for Danny Boyle.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

13th Apr 2020

Read more 3 star reviews

Juliet, Naked

Mildly enjoyable, thoroughly forgettable Nick Hornby pic ...once you get past the contrived set up.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

4th Apr 2020

Read more 3 star reviews

Shazam

Kid-friendly(ish), super fun superhero movie.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

23rd Mar 2020

Read more 3.5 star reviews

The Lion King

Impeccably realised remake, but it’s emotionally flat.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

15th Mar 2020

Read more 3 star reviews

Galveston

Standard festival thriller, with some style and decent moments - but it’s all a bit thin.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

10th Mar 2020

Read more 3 star reviews

Alladin

Surprisingly enjoyable, Guy Ritchie-fied Disney remake.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

10th Mar 2020

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Mapplethorpe

Cookie cutter biography that could literally have been written from his Wikipedia page.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

7th Mar 2020

Read more 1.5 star reviews

Horse Girl

Text book indie, literally days out of Sundance. Interesting until it gets a bit too wacky.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

9th Feb 2020

Read more 3 star reviews

Mid90s

Strong slice of 90s skate nostalgia. Slow and subtle.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

8th Feb 2020

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Phantom Thread

Considered character study that strays into pretentiousness here and there.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

25th Jan 2020

Read more 3 star reviews

Rocketman

Enthusiasticly directed sequence of unrelated musical set pieces.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

31st Dec 2019

Read more 3 star reviews

Avengers

Endgame

Yet another biggest-battle-yet, with more than a passing nod to BTTF2.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

30th Dec 2019

Read more 3 star reviews

Mystify

Michael Hutchence

Thoughtfully assembled montage doc.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

30th Dec 2019

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Captain Marvel

Decent origin story, with charm and some 90s nostalgia.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

27th Dec 2019

Read more 3 star reviews

Star Wars

The Rise of Skywalker

Freestyle bouillabaisse with all the ingredients, but no chef.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

27th Dec 2019

Read more 3 star reviews

Marriage Story

Quintessential indie movie ...funded by Netflix. Great perfs, lovely camera work and solid direction.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

22nd Dec 2019

Read more 4 star reviews

Widows

Superior modern thriller. Smart script and accomplished direction.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

15th Dec 2019

Read more 4 star reviews

The Irishman

Long, slow, thoroughly enjoyable loose jam through Scorsese/DeNiro/Pacino/Pesci/Keitel’s greatest hits.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

2nd Dec 2019

Read more 4 star reviews

Joker

Batman via Scorsese, in impeccably art directed, neatly packaged origin story.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

28th Nov 2019

Read more 4 star reviews

Frozen 2

Surprisingly strong sequel that gets going after a convoluted start.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

24th Nov 2019

Read more 3 star reviews

The Mule

Casual drama from Clint Eastwood, with the man himself anchoring things through a charming turn.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

16th Nov 2019

Read more 3 star reviews

The King

Luscious period drama. Beautifully put together - like Wolf Hall+.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

3rd Nov 2019

Read more 3.5 star reviews

El Camino

Throw away Breaking Bad expansion piece with little tension or jeopardy.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

13th Oct 2019

Read more 2.5 star reviews

Vice

Stylish but incoherent Cheney biopic, hampered by another one-note turn from Bale.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

5th Oct 2019

Read more 3 star reviews

Bohemian Rhapsody

Mind numbingingly basic biopic, saved by the nostalgia for the music and moments.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

5th Oct 2019

Read more 2 star reviews

Minding the Gap

Interesting doc following the lives of 3 teens becoming adults, tied together by skateboarding.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

28th Sep 2019

Read more 3 star reviews

Manchester by the Sea

Painful, occasionally uplifting viewing with a grief stricken central performance.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

28th Sep 2019

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Spider-Man

Into the Spider-Verse

Stylish, trippy concept animated superhero flick with some great moments.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

21st Sep 2019

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Dora & the Lost City of Gold

Young adult upgrade, with just enough Conchords humour to keep it enjoyable.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

22nd Aug 2019

Read more 2.5 star reviews

Breath

Decent Aussie surf drama, that nostalgically investigates the soul of surfing before losing its way a little.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

14th Aug 2019

Read more 3.5 star reviews

A Star is Born

Somewhat unremarkable, but enjoyable music drama. Bit long.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

13th Jul 2019

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Two For Joy

Predictably grim seaside coming-of-age indie. Decent enough, but you’ve seen it before


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

13th Jul 2019

Read more 3 star reviews

Mary Poppins Returns

Stylish sequel, hampered in places by some authentic 1960s pacing.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

30th Jun 2019

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Coraline

Out-there kids fable with an old school Tim Burton vibe.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

16th Jun 2019

Read more 3 star reviews

Blackkklansman

Rock solid 90s style indie movie. Beautifully assembled at all levels.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

31st May 2019

Read more 4 star reviews

Can’t Stand Losing You

Fairly one-sided Police doc about the seemingly dislikeable trio.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

7th May 2019

Read more 2.5 star reviews

Tallulah

Decent, but slightly muddled parenting indie.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

28th Apr 2019

Read more 3 star reviews

Dumbo

Forgettable re-imagining of a not totally unforgettable Disney classic.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

27th Apr 2019

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Missing Link

Solid stop-motion animation that’s light on plot, but high on charm.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

12th Apr 2019

Read more 2.5 star reviews

Sicario 2

Soldaro

Surprisingly stylish sequel that drops the ball in classic straight-to-VHS style halfway through.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

6th Apr 2019

Read more 3 star reviews

Hold the Dark

Opaque Alaskan thriller from Jeremy Saulnier, with little regard for convention.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

1st Apr 2019

Read more 3 star reviews

Leave No Trace

Low key indie spin on Rambo, as a father and daughter try and live off grid.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

28th Mar 2019

Read more 3.5 star reviews

The Dirt

Fun biopic that runs out of steam about when the band did.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

25th Mar 2019

Read more 3 star reviews

Deadpool 2

A diminished remake of Deadpool 1. Occasional LOLs.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

25th Mar 2019

Read more 2.5 star reviews

Bird Box

High concept sci-fi that stretches its concept a little thin.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

19th Mar 2019

Read more 3 star reviews