Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Wilco - Kicking Television: Live in Chicago




Wilco were going to release a live DVD, as is the style these days. But then Wilco never much cared for current trends, so they decided to kick television and release a 2xCD live album recorded last year in the Chicago's Vic Theatre.

In short it's incredible. I've never heard a live album sound so good. The mix is perfect, almost like Wilco rocking out right there in your living room. It manages to perfectly capture a moment in time: the new six man band functioning as a single entity at the height of their Ghost is Born tour. Nels Cline is given free reign over his guitar and manages to create sounds that surpass upon the studio recordings.

Apart from a couple of Woody Guthrie tracks, Kicking Television draws mainly from the band's previous two efforts. It opens with a reinvented Misunderstood from Being There. The band immediately displaying a new-found confidence in their peerless ability. For those who found their Nonesuch records a bit experimental, hearing the band recreate them live will remind you that first and foremost Wilco write straightforward rock songs with decent melodies.

Jeff Tweedy includes a little of his crowd banter, but not too much that you'll grow tired of listening to it. It works well as an audio disc. It keeps the mystery. You wonder why people cheer for seemingly no reason, but most of all it focuses on great music. The loudest cheer of the night is when Tweedy sings “do you still love rock and roll?” With bands like Wilco on current form, it would be hard not to.

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