Wilco all over and out any­time

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - WHAT'S ON -

EFF Tweedy chuck­les when it is sug­gested his band has reached some el­der states­men mile­stone courtesy of the ti­tle of their cur­rent tour.

‘‘Oh yeah, An Evening With Wilco – we gen­er­ally play pretty long shows, so it prob­a­bly should be A Decade with Wilco,’’ Tweedy says.

Since form­ing in 1994 and con­sol­i­dat­ing as the cur­rent line-up a decade later, Wilco have chal­lenged and de­lighted the dis­cern­ing mu­sic fan with their genre-hop­ping ex­per­i­men­ta­tion. They be­came the poster band for the dys­func­tional de­cline of the ma­jor la­bel sys­tem when one im­print of Warner Mu­sic re­fused to re­lease their break­through al­bum Yan­kee Ho­tel Fox­trot for it to be picked up by an­other of the multi­na­tional’s sub­sidiaries.

Since then, the band’s recorded out­put has won them Gram­mys while their gigs fur­ther their le­gend. As Tweedy says, they will play any­where, any time and av­er­age at least 150 shows a year. On their cur­rent Aus­tralian tour, their itin­er­ary stretches from the Easter run of blues fes­ti­vals to the Syd­ney Opera House and Mel­bourne’s Hamer Hall.

‘‘We will play a folk fes­ti­val one day and in a lit­tle club some­where the next – we’re quite good at fit­ting in,’’ Tweedy says.

‘‘We’ve had to grow into the big­ger venues and stages and we have be­come really good at that over the years.’’

Tweedy agrees that main­tain­ing their cur­rent-line-up for al­most a decade is a fac­tor in Wilco’s on-stage alchemy.

Like all good gigs, the mu­si­cal con­ver­sa­tion the band mem­bers have dur­ing a show ap­pears ef­fort­less and in­tu­itive rather than drilled in their Chicago re­hearsal room. It could also be that John Stir­ratt, Nels Cline, Glenn Kotche, Pat San­sone and Mikael Jor­gensen are fine mu­si­cians.

‘‘It’s won­der­ful to be able to get from point A to B a lot faster,’’ Tweedy says of their on-stage com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

‘‘Mu­sic is some­thing peo­ple tend to talk about and mu­si­cians talk about a lot when they don’t know each other very well.

‘‘A band like Wilco, who have been do­ing it to­gether long enough, will have an un­der­stand­ing of cer­tain things that have to be ex­pe­ri­enced and not talked about.’’

Tweedy has also be­come in-de­mand as a pro­ducer since helm­ing the award-win­ning al­bum You Are Not Alone by famed r ’n’ b and gospel singer Mavis Sta­ples and is wrap­ping up her next record.

Tweedy thought it was an achieve­ment just to meet Sta­ples; you can

Wilco (above) and Mavis Sta­ples (left) hear just how chuffed he is he got to work with her and in­duct her into the fam­ily.

‘‘Mavis lives here in Chicago, so that worked out well.’’

He says Sta­ples, a force of na­ture, taught him how to be him­self. ‘‘It’s really great to watch some­one like Mavis Sta­ples work and ab­sorb a cer­tain amount of that spirit or what­ever you want to call it,’’ he says.

The good news for Wilco fans is there will be an­other record from the band, to fol­low-up 2011’s The Whole Love.

‘‘We’ve started chug­ging away. I don’t know but I doubt if you’ll hear any­thing new on the Aus­tralian shows be­cause in the past, when we have done songs live be­fore we have had a chance to fin­ish them in the stu­dio, they can be really hard to record be­cause you are miss­ing that en­ergy from the au­di­ence.’’

Wilco play the By­ron Bay Blues­fest on Satur­day and Easter Mon­day. The Blind Boys of Alabama and Mavis Sta­ples play The Tivoli, in Bris­bane, tonight. Sta­ples plays Blues­fest on Sun­day and Mon­day.

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