Friday, September 21, 2007

Wilco, the Gem of Columbia

Posted By on Fri, Sep 21, 2007 at 11:27 AM

Wilco, with Dr. Dog.

Wednesday, 9-19-07

Outside the Blue Note in Beautiful Downtown Columbia, MO

Better than: Having the show inside the Blue Note, where there are places to sit and better vantage points to actually see the bands, as opposed to standing on pavement for three hours behind some tattooed love girl who will not stop invading our space.

Review by Megan Metzger, amateurish-but-earnest photos by Darren A. Fox, bastard French cutlines by Harper

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Le crowd.

After a two-hour road trip and a pit stop at the Flatbranch Brewery, we arrived at Ninth and Broadway to catch Philadelphia’s Dr. Dog. Although we aren’t a fan of the band’s name, we totally dig its ’70s-infused, blue-eyed granola soul, which the boys in sunglasses and retro threads rollicked through for about an hour.

Attendance was fairly light for the opener, and we surmised the threat of rain and the just-announced October 13th Wilco show in KC kept some fans away. But the night turned out to be clear and gorgeous, and as Wilco’s start time crept closer, the crowd got bigger and bigger.

The Bob Newhart theme streamed through the PA, and Wilco took to the stage, opening the long show with “You Are My Face” off of latest release Sky Blue Sky.

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Le dog docteur.

The proggy, spaced-out track off of this year’s proggy, spaced-out album alienated some fans who prefer their Wilco folked-up-and-straightforward, to whom we say Cowboy up, pardner. You can’t stop progress!

Luckily, none of these flannel-clad sticks in the mud were among the appreciative, hemp-friendly crowd. Swarms of toked-up frat boys, blitzed hippie kids, stoned-off-their-ass sorority sisters and buzzed hipsters were totally feelin’ it, man.

Especially the owner of these beauties.

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Les tattoos du hippie patriotique.

She was doing the Worlds-of-Fun hug (he stands behind her and wraps his extremeties around her trunk) with this goateed Barney who LURVED Wilco. Dude sang every self-effacing, artfully crafted lovesick line to his painted lady, who responded by being cute and sticking her tongue out at him (because she’s a free spirit, ‘kay?) and trying to entice every other dude around her by freaking the ass of her plain-Jane gal pal. To Wilco.

To each their own, right? Almost beats that time I saw co-eds moshing at the Shins concert.

Anyway, Jeff Tweedy (lookin’ like a lupine Dylan) and company chugged along under a half-an-aspirin-shaped moon for over two hours. The solid setlist was all over the map, relying heavily on the new release, 2004’s polarizing A Ghost Is Born, and break-through album, 2002’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, with earlier material sandwiched inbetween.

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Le Tweedy avec le hat.

Everyone in attendance had a massive hard-on for YHF, and much like the Flaming Lips show at the Uptown the Wednesday before, hearing a sea of voices sing in unison to songs rarely aired on the radio made this music fascist feel like maybe the majority of people in the world don’t have super-shitty taste in music afterall. It’s a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Also giving us the warm fuzzies was Wilco’s latest addition, ax slayer Nels Cline. My friend and total Wilco junkie Anne commented she’s a big fan of “guitarmony,” and when Cline jammed on Ghost’s “Impossible Germany,” boyfriend reached guitarmonious perfection. The former Geraldine Fibber and thin, tall drink of water is a fuckin’ champion on guitar, and though he’s not necessarily the physical ideal per se, his skills alone totally made me swoon and want to marry him. He’s that good.

Cline was given plenty of room to work his fingers all over his guitar, and for the most part, it was rad. On occassion the jams went on a little long, which gave me pause, since hippie jam bands make me break out into hives. But as I said, the crowd was mostly stoned and loving it.

Tweedy’s made it known Wilco digs playing Columbia the most. The Bellevue, Illinois, native’s family always comes to the Mizzou town shows, and this time they watched their boy from the comfort of a two-story building.

And since Tweedy hearts Columbia so much, he promised the crowd a nice, long set with a hearty portion of encores.

During their first five-song encore, they played the Woody Guthrie song “Hesitating Beauty,” from their Mermaid Avenue Vol. 1 collab with Billy Bragg, followed by YHF’s good-time summer number, “Heavy Metal Drummer.” Apparently a girl upfront mimicked a line from the song and flashed the boys. At the song’s conclusion, Tweedy tells the rest of us unfortunate ones who missed tits.

“I’ve never seen anyone actually flash us before,” Tweedy said. “But you did it during the wrong part. We’ll play the song again,” he joked.

Then he said, “Ah just kidding. I’ve seen enough of those.”

Ah, SNAP.

They closed the show with a generous seven songs, including “Casino Queen” and “Passenger Side” off 1995 alt-country fried debut album A.M. They wrapped things up with Ghost’s “Spider,” and left a clap happy, tired crowd to spend the rest of their evening coming down over some post-show tacos and quarter draws.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: Columbia doesn’t hold a fond place in my heart like it does Jeff Tweedy’s. I began my college career as a Tiger. I left because no one talked to me on my floor. Okay, so I was, like “alternative” or whatever, but it’s not like I was an unapproachable goth or anything. The only person who talked to me was my passive-aggressive roommate who was a huge Dream Theater fan (she had a bunch of friends, by the way. And she liked DREAM THEATER. What the fuck). Maybe I played my Shellac CD too loud, and when I listened to “A Prayer to God” on repeat (hey, it’s catchy) I gave the entire dorm the creeps. I’ll never know.

Random Detail: One of the guys in Dr. Dog totally looks like current Roman Numerals and former Get Up Kids drummer Ryan Pope.

By the Way: Hey, red-eyed stoney baloneys. It never hurts to travel with some Visine in your purse or pocket, you got me?

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Femme avec les dreadlocks: Retournez a votre maison!

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