14 Mar 05 Wilcomania
We have become accustomed to the music of Wilco since our nephew JP, and girlfriend Erin, visited last summer.
At first we had them down as yet another American guitar band singing about drugs, driving and love, but then some time later Mrs Monk bought Wilcos eggy CD, A Ghost Is Born, and soon we were hooked. Since this was JPs recommendation, I was allowed to play it to death in the car, and as loud as possible. Great driving music.
We settled in our seats at the Hammersmith Apollo
A large grey-headed lady in front of us shook in her seat rhythmically, and we were thus relieved not to be the oldest couple in the audience, but even so, we were in a minority of 6 out of 6000.
Being in such a minority, does compel you to examine the audience. I am sure that the black bouncers would have noticed the whiteness of the audience, just as Mrs Monk noticed the fatness of the shimmying grey-head.
I noted the heterosexuality of the music, and the gender of the six men (and boys) in the band.
I noticed also a number of very young unaccompanied girls staring longingly and appreciatively at their heroes apparently mouthing every word of Jeff Tweedy. These girls were smitten with the man in a Wilcomania kind of way, responding maybe to the poetic foil of Tweedy, against what us white boys were there to hear: guitars, and loud, and more guitars and louder.
Another significant characteristic of the audience was revealed when Jeff Tweedy asked about "Americans" in the audience. Perhaps 90% of the audience responded with a cheer.
"Sorry England" said Tweedy.
This band is huge in America, where they are renowned for their live performances. We concur. And no mere derivative rock band are Wilco; You simply don't get on the cover of Wire unless you have an accomplished musicality, integrity, and maybe something else.
Highlights: The drummer throughout, the 5 guitar / 5 minute drone, that did not loose the audience, the final number, Spiders, (what else), and the 6 subsequent encores. Joy.
Lowlights: Hammersmith Moroccan restaurant which preceded the concert, possibly responsible for Mrs Monk's continuing constipation, and Martha Wainwright, (Wilco Support) Sorry Martha, let's blame the sound system.