WILCO Concert Review (9/6/16, Fillmore)
Tuesday September 6th 2016 was a day that will live in infamy for Wilco fans for a long time to come. Indie stores across the country (as well as around the globe, as indicated by a map off of the official Wilco website) held listening parties for the band’s latest release entitled “Schmilco” that was released that day. I personally had the pleasure of going to the Amoeba Records store in San Francisco to check out the scene, where I was given a “I Heard Schmilco” sticker that I proudly wore for the rest of the night. Fans were abundant, with smiles and nodding heads aplenty. Before long the store sold out of their entire vinyl stock of the album, a pretty impressive feat indeed given how many copies were initially in stock.
I then had the pleasure of seeing the band perform on their first of five sold-out concerts at the historic Fillmore. Having seen the band in various venues over the last decade, there was something about this performance that seemed extra special. The band was in fine form, with a number of standout performances by guitarist extraordinaire Nels Cline, who adeptly wielded more axes than Jack Nicholson in the Shining. Nel’s extended guitar riffs during “Impossible Germany” were particularly impressive, garnishing a huge amount of positive response from the crowd. Another special treat was hearing bassist John Stirrat singing “That’s Not The Issue” off of the band’s seminal 1995 release “A.M.” to which the audience responded with copious applause. However, the most entertaining and organic aspect of the night was hearing new Wilco songs that I had never previously heard played live.
From a band with such an extensive catalog of great music, “Schmilco” very much stands out as as the artistic statement it is. Like “Sky Blue Sky”, “Summerteeth” and so many of their other albums, “Schmilco” feels like a snapshot of a band at its prolonged zenith, still delivering cathartic, relevant narratives that inform the landscape of American music today. I was grateful to have had the opportunity to hear the new album with other fans in the store and then hear many of these songs performed live mere hours later. I will, no doubt, be playing this album in heavy rotation in the coming days and weeks as I explore its intricacies and nuances further. But at this point, I can assuredly give preemptive accolades for an album that I think will rank “up there” with the band’s best work over the last two decades.
Toping off the night, I got to meet the band after the show and get some obligatory autographs for the very cool and unique custom poster that was handed out to all attendees.
I definitely recommend that you check out this band on their current whirlwind world tour (and of course pick up a copy of “Shmilco” as well if you can find one!).
Inner Edge Music