Wednesday, August 26, 2009


                                                                                                                                  Copy of wilco 108This is mainman Jeff Tweedie of Wilco holding his  wee birthday cake on stage at the Troxy in East London last night, surrounded by a shower of spangles, accepting the warm love and best wishes of the crowd.

It was a standout performance for band that quietly and steadily have become one of the great bands in America of today. To describe their music, they have their roots and feet in Americana, their heads in experimentalism, on a par with Radiohead.

With their three-guitar line-up, backed by keyboards, bass and Copy of wilco 139drums, they create sonic symphonies, great swelling rousing swirls of beaty noise. Next they break it down to sweet and affecting highly crafted songs of the prairies, for those nights when the wind is howling outside your log cabin. The band as a unit are tight, drilled and honed by long roadwork,  expertly skilled and adept at negotiating the slides , breaks and seques a Wilco song requires, like experienced white-water rafters caught in a tricky current. They do this with a lot of heart and humour. They seem open, relaxed and were obviously enjoying themselves.

Copy of wilco 146This was a stand-out performance and, for some reason, it made me feel that this is what it must have been like to see the Byrds in the Avalon Ballroom.

Copy of wilco 064 The Troxy, by the way, is a great old-fashioned art deco venue, with balconies and a great wide floor. We found a sweet spot where the sound was perfect and the bass moved right through your body.

Unable to take an SLR camera into the place, I was working with Copy of wilco 037my small Sony digi, which I hadn't used for almost a year, and just experimenting with settings at random. I like the results. They seem to capture the moods and colours and energy of the music.

We - Emma, Kailash, Louis & I - were the only ones dancing, like loonies, in our corner of the arena. It was a joyous experience.wilco 003

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