Monday, July 13, 2009

Wilco (The Concert)

We made our way up to Lowell Saturday night to see Wilco, who were playing at LeLacheur Park, home to the minor league Lowell Spinners. I haven't listened to their new album, only a few songs, so I was looking forward to hearing some new tunes. One of the reviews I read referred to 'Wilco (The Album)' as "Dad Rock", and this made me laugh, given the fact that the six of us making the journey to Lowell are all fathers, as well as long time Wilco fans. Lowell is an interesting city, in the early 20th century it was the thriving center of the New England textile industry, but now it is best known as the birthplace of Jack Keroauc, and rumor has it that Edgar Allen Poe allegedly wrote "The Raven" in a local tavern. Today, Lowell is a pretty rough town, but in the past few years it has been going through a bit of urban renewal, centered around the Western Avenue Studios - a converted mill which houses over 160 working artists and musicians.

LeLacheur Park is not the best venue (band in center field, small human corral in front of stage, unoccupied wasteland in the infield, grandstand seating for those not in the corral) but the music was outstanding. Jeff Tweedy was all smiles and Nels Cline blew us away with his guitar playing, mindblowing stuff. My favorite part of the show came when the band played Via Chicago>Impossible Germany>Spiders (Kidsmoke). It's hard to imagine Wilco without Nels Cline, he seems such an integral part of the band now, and I have to believe that he is a big part of the reason they are making some of the best music going right now. The show ended just as the skies opened up, and the driving rain forced the band to call the show after only one encore song. Everyone got the feeling that they wanted to keep playing, but we also felt satisfied that we got to see such a great show. We decided to grab a drink at an Irish Pub, and then headed back to the hotel, because those of us who listen to "Dad Rock" still like our sleep. Sunday morning found us at the Owl Diner for some eggs and coffee, before heading home. In the end, we never found Jack Keroauc's birthplace, or the bar that Poe liked to drink at, but Wilco definitely swung for the fences and hit a home run.

1 comment:

rambling canuck said...

Excellent review. Nels is definitely the bomb. I remember seeing him many years ago in a small club in Portland. He and drummer Gregg Bendian covered Coltrane's "Interstellar Space" from beginning to end. Yes, mind-blowing, indeed.