Wilco

@ The Roundhouse

Uniquely amongst the arts, great music mixes different styles. In literature, forging something new is overrated. Perfection is a piece of work that fits and embodies the genre it occupies. But when it comes to music, stranger is often better. I’m talking about Sgt Pepper’s, Bad, Graceland and The Jam.

Wilco are pretty adept at this, as their collaborations with Feist and Billy Bragg testify. Their latest album The Whole Love is also a mixed bag of feedback-ridden rockers and light country melodies. You can be fairly confident that you will get some wry social comment and semi-serious self-help country pop with Jeff Tweedy, but Nels Cline’s jazz improvising, punk rocking guitar solos give the band their edge. It’s a bit Television, and a bit Steve Stills, so be warned.

Anyway,, 28 October 2011 is Cline’s night. The guitarist is on top form, bringing out the melody in every song and creating a crashing wave of sound at the end of each track. ‘Is that a whammy?’ Tweedy asks. ‘That’s what they call it in Glasgow. Not all our songs end that way. Just most of them.’

I’m an unashamed believer in Wilco’s last two albums being their best yet, so Black Bull Bossanova and One Wing from Wilco (the album) are given welcome run outs, while Capitol City and I Might show the band at their tightest. Fan favourite, Impossible Germany, is the highlight of the night, however, with Nels’ extended solo soaking up the rich atmosphere.

All in all, a very fruitful combination, and a band at the very top of their game. If the next album is different again, it will hopefully be a cracker.

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