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

Califone

Roots & Crowns

Latitude Festival

Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk

Andrew Bird

Noble Beast

Bob Dylan

Brixton Academy, London

Jeff Tweedy

Union Chapel, London

The Florida Project

Stylish, incredibly depressing portrait of life on the margins.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

12th May 2018

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Search

Brawl in Cell Block 99

Minimally written and confidently directed, with a brutally violent third act… https://t.co/Vm7dMUrd3i.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

4th May 2018

Read more star reviews

Last Flag Flying

Unofficial sequel to The Last Detail. Surprisingly slight effort from Linklater.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

29th Apr 2018

Read more 3 star reviews

Alien

Covenant

Another tired entry, trotting out the same old tropes, plus new nonsensical gibberish.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

13th Apr 2018

Read more 2.5 star reviews

Star Wars

The Last Jedi

Every moment is undermined by a gag and the few serious scenes are sloppily handled.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

13th Apr 2018

Read more 2 star reviews

Spider-man

Homecoming

A third crack at Spider-man. Fun-ish, but it’s zero-stakes, zero-jeopardy. Bit smug too.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

31st Mar 2018

Read more 3 star reviews

Wonder Woman

Another garish super-hero flick. Slightly above average, mainly by being more old-fashioned.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

30th Mar 2018

Read more 3 star reviews

Slow West

Overly dry, eccentric western. Jarmuschian overtones.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

16th Mar 2018

Read more 3 star reviews

Wind River

Incredible, tense, original thriller. A western with snowmobiles.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

14th Mar 2018

Read more 4 star reviews

21 Years

Richard Linklater

Career retrospective doc that keeps it fun and doesn’t outstay it’s welcome.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

11th Mar 2018

Read more 3 star reviews

The Mummy

Blockbuster-by-numbers as Universal clumsily attempt to build a franchise.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

24th Feb 2018

Read more 2 star reviews

I’m Now

The Story of Mudhoney

Unsurprising history run-down, enlivened by the band’s ferociously DIY attitude.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

21st Feb 2018

Read more 2.5 star reviews

The Cloverfield Paradox

Some good ideas, buried by shambolic direction and storytelling.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

20th Feb 2018

Read more 2 star reviews

Get Out

Intense, eerie thriller that’s surprisingly straightforward and a little old-fashioned.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

30th Jan 2018

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Colossal

Disappointingly slow, underdeveloped and literal monster metaphor from Nacho Vigalondo.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

27th Jan 2018

Read more 2.5 star reviews

The Light Between Oceans

Long, but moving and stylishly directed period drama. Fantastic cinematography.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

15th Jan 2018

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Logan

Grown-up superhero flick. Handled far better than most, but ridiculously violent.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

6th Jan 2018

Read more 3.5 star reviews

By the Sea

Slated by the critics, this is a stylish, slight, small movie - with two massive stars in it.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

6th Jan 2018

Read more 3 star reviews

Kong

Skull Island

Fun, original take on an otherwise ageing property. Apocalypse Now meets Watchmen.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

5th Jan 2018

Read more 3 star reviews

The Ones Below

Clunky Brit thriller that telegraphs every one of its sub-Hitchcockian twists, despite the decent premise.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

3rd Jan 2018

Read more 2 star reviews

Guardians of the Galaxy

Vol 2

Stylish, fast-paced, amusing antidote to the endless stream of generic superhero movies.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

27th Dec 2017

Read more 3.5 star reviews

La La Land

Disappointingly slight award winner, that doesn’t find its stride until 10 minutes from the end.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

27th Dec 2017

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Bright

Left-field genre mash-up that pitches itself just right. Solid action, good humour. Thoroughly enjoyable.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

25th Dec 2017

Read more 4 star reviews

I, Daniel Blake

Bleak, real-time journey through the realities of living on benefits.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

25th Dec 2017

Read more 3 star reviews

Star Wars

The Last Jedi

Shambolic sequel that squanders the promising set up from JJ, plus 40 year… https://t.co/SdXpv8B5hj.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

21st Dec 2017

Read more star reviews

ET

The Extra Terrestial

Kids on BMXs sticking it to the man. What could be better.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

19th Dec 2017

Read more 5 star reviews

Life

Lifeless sci-fi horror. Gravity meets Piranha.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

12th Dec 2017

Read more 2 star reviews

William Eggleston in the Real World

Disappointingly flat and uninsightful documentary from Michael Almerayda.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

5th Dec 2017

Read more 2.5 star reviews

Lucky Logan

Amiable, zero jeopardy comedy from Soderbergh. Slightly unsure what it’s trying to be.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

2nd Dec 2017

Read more 3 star reviews

20th Century Women

Another thoughtful biographical effort from Mike Mills. Stylish but a little long and sprawling.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

25th Nov 2017

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Assassin’s Creed

Stylish, but utterly nonsensical drivel. Knowing anything about the game might vaguely help.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

24th Nov 2017

Read more 2 star reviews

The Girl on the Train

Bland, predictable potboiler that could have been written, directed and acted by a computer.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

18th Nov 2017

Read more 2 star reviews

Lion

Stylish, touching movie. Nicely acted if a little slow.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

12th Nov 2017

Read more 3.5 star reviews

6 Days

Historical engaging, but languidly edited thriller surrounding the 1980 Iranian Embassy siege.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

5th Nov 2017

Read more 3 star reviews

Moonlight

Intense, mournful coming-of-age drama. Very stylish and operatic. Terrence Mallick via John Singleton.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

21st Oct 2017

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Intricately plotted, but seamlessly crafted into a lighthearted modern classic.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

20th Oct 2017

Read more 5 star reviews

T2 Trainspotting

Belated sequel that remixes the original with some success, but the nostalgia runs a little thin.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

15th Oct 2017

Read more 3.5 star reviews

The Accountant

A Beautiful Mind meets the A-Team. Convoluted actioner that doesn’t transcend its premise.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

11th Oct 2017

Read more 2.5 star reviews

Sully

Solid, uplifting biopic. Well structured with moments of real tension despite the inevitable ending. And 91m.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

11th Oct 2017

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Bladerunner 2049

Good visuals, nice music, flabby storytelling and a confusing plot. A worthy sequel.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

6th Oct 2017

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Finding Dory

Convoluted, charmless sequel. A rare misfire from Pixar.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

17th Sep 2017

Read more 2 star reviews

American Honey

Andrea Arnold transplants her class observations to the US. Unforgivably long, if beautifully shot.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

17th Sep 2017

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Ordinary World

Billie Joe Armstrong plays a former star dealing with 40. Good concept, rendered as flat as possible.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

16th Sep 2017

Read more 2 star reviews

Passengers

Woefully inept, on-the-nose sci-fi romance. A reasonable concept executed in the worst way possible.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

10th Sep 2017

Read more 1.5 star reviews

Deepwater Horizon

Nicely directed, but a true story often doesn’t make for a well shaped film.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

31st Aug 2017

Read more 2.5 star reviews

The Box

Over-complicated, over-stylised mess from a director who clearly fluked his debut.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

30th Aug 2017

Read more 2.5 star reviews

The Lorax

Overlooked Dr. Suess adaptation from the Minions guys. Charming, but lacking a stand out character.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

30th Aug 2017

Read more 2.5 star reviews

The Infiltrator

Utterly standard undercover cop gets in too deep movie.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

29th Aug 2017

Read more 2.5 star reviews

Arrival

Stylish modern sci-fi with a clever structure, but it's still a film about subtitled aliens.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

24th Aug 2017

Read more 3.5 star reviews

The Lobster

Clever, quirky, black comedy parable that runs out of steam.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

23rd Aug 2017

Read more 3 star reviews