Monday, Oct. 8, 2007

Wilco, "The World’s Most Exciting Live Rock Band"?

By Evan Rytlewski
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As Wilco's Tuesday night Milwaukee concert at The Rave approaches, the city has been flooded in hype about the group's live show. A print advertisement deems the group, via the London Sunday Telegraph, "the world's most exciting live rock band," and a radio commercial repeats the claim. I mean this question in no way to be contentious, but does anybody believe that assertion is true? I haven't seen Wilco for a few years now, although I used to catch them at least once or twice a year back in the day (they've always toured the Milwaukee/Chicago/Madison area hard, and they used to make annual stops at Summerfest). Like most of the crowd, I thought the band was pretty great, but I'd still have a hard time considering them among the world's most exciting live bands. If anything, their sets followed a fairly predictable format, as the group started with material from their newest release then roughly worked their way backward through their discography, typically closing with a couple of rockers from Being There. Their sets were long, the performances tight, the guitars killer—in general, their concerts were always worth the 20 bucks, but they never left a major impression. Again, I'm not trying to knock a band I have tremendous respect for—I'm just generally curious, since I could just be out of the loop here—but I also have a hard time imagining how the band's assured but ultra-laidback new Sky Blue Sky translates on stage. Has anyone seen them since Sky Blue Sky came out? Does Wilco deserve to be considered the live band to beat?
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