Wilco: March 24, 2017 Big Ears Festival (Knoxville, TN)

October 27, 2017
By

© Copyright David Simchock. Provided with permission by Big Ears Festival.

Wilco is the kind of popular band that is perfectly suited to a festival like Big Ears. For the past several years, the Knoxville, TN-based festival has put on the kind of genre-agnostic, fan-focused, music-focused event that is an increasing rarity in a festival environment where the top-line band is invariably a mainstream hip-hop act or LCD Soundsystem. Wilco have been called “dad-rock” and a variety of other things like it, but there’s nothing embarrassing about liking a band that has continued to focus on songwriting and continued trying to do something new. If you don’t believe that, you obviously didn’t see, or hear about, Jeff Tweedy’s experimental set during this festival with Chikamorachi (we hope to share that soon).

On this night, Wilco took the stage at the Tennessee Theatre and played a set true to the festival’s style, cranking out several extended noise-jam numbers including “Spiders (Kidsmoke)” and caterwauling “Impossible Germany.” If this didn’t offer quite the novelty of the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot set at Solid Sound later in the year, this set was nonetheless a special one, including starting with the fairly-rarely-played “Radio Cure.” The set doesn’t so much flow as exist as a series of climaxes and valleys, though the noise outro from “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” into a furious “Art of Almost” is a particular pleasure. Schmilco and its several obligatory appearances gave several points in the set a more sedate feel, as none of these songs seem to have yet established themselves as live breakouts, though “Locator” feels like the most obvious candidate to get there (and is easily the best of the Schmilco songs played at this show). Wilco ended the night with a lesser-played number of 2017, “A Shot In the Arm,” whose coda could as easily have been a message to the music festival world at large: “What you once were isn’t what you want to be any more.” Indeed, if you’re in the business of attending or putting on music festivals, I’d recommend a look at Big Ears.

This set was recorded by Matt Honkonen of the Big Ears staff with a Zoom H6 and was provided to us by Big Ears. The sound quality is a bit compressed at points, but the fairly ideal location of the recorder in the theater yields an overall pleasing result. Enjoy!

Speaking of Big Ears, we’re going to be posting a bunch of sets from the 2017 festival in the upcoming weeks in anticipation of the 2018 festival. The initial lineup announcement comes November 1 and tickets are onsale November 3. 

Download the complete show: [FLAC] | [MP3]

 

Wilco
2017-03-24
Big Ears Festival
Tennessee Theatre
Knoxville, TN USA

Recorded by Matt Honkonen
Produced by acidjack

Zoom H6 (internal mics, at SBD)>WAV (16/48)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects)>Adobe Audition CC (compression, amplification)>Audacity 2.0.3 (track)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time: 1:58:16]
01 Radio Cure
02 If I Ever Was a Child
03 Cry All Day
04 I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
05 Art of Almost
06 Pickled Ginger
07 Misunderstood
08 Someone to Lose
09 War on War
10 Via Chicago
11 Bull Black Nova
12 Reservations
13 Impossible Germany
14 We Aren’t the World (Safety Girl)
15 Box Full of Letters
16 Heavy Metal Drummer
17 I’m the Man Who Loves You
18 Hummingbird
19 [banter]
20 The Late Greats
21 [encore break]
22 Random Name Generator
23 Jesus, Etc.
24 Locator
25 Spiders (Kidsmoke)
26 A Shot in the Arm

PLEASE SUPPORT Wilco, visit their website, and purchase their Star Wars and their other releases from their website [HERE]

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