i love nels. i really do. but does anyone else think that despite what wilco gained in “artiness” with nels they lost some of the warmth that made them so special in the first place? wilco is one of my favorite bands ever. and i like wilco with nels. but i’m not so sure i would have the same conneciton with them if i had first been introduced them with the nels lineup.
taking my gf to see them, i had described them as fantastic songwriting band with lots of americana, twang, pop and art rock mixed in. and that is what i heard at the show. she walked away having seen a band with “soft slow songs and loud songs that all had sonic youth jams in them”
trying to put myself in her position, not knowing “wilco”, just hearing the band on stage, i can see how that was what she heard.
Jon, I think you’re right on many levels. It’s a band that has changed in a very different way than the national discussion which has been brought upon them. One reaosn I really like this video (and 2004-2005 Wilco in general) was that it was still a band inbetween. Nels was constrained to Wilco, but still very eccentric and moving in his work, it’s why a solo like this one at the end of the song can feel so frantic yet so warm – seeing it makes it that much more powerful.
Someday, someone will talk about the band Wilco became between “A Ghost is Born” and “Sky Blue Sky” and see that the band, despite releasing a mellower record, became much much more experimental than the change which occurred during YHF.
what a solo, damn! frantic yet melodic. That’s what makes him different than sonic youth. he still works within the frame and chords of the song. that’s why it’s so good. I can only compare to NEIL that approach…
I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I’ve always been a bit scared of Nels. Even the rest of Wilco seems to take a tentative step back when Nels is let out of his cage at the end of this track. On one hand, I really do see how his influence over Tweedy has encouraged the 14-minute distortion-a-thons that make their live shows a bit, well, noisy. On the other, I don’t think I can ever listen to ‘Ashes of American Flags’ or ‘Handshake Drugs’ in their original album forms after hearing them played on ‘Kicking Television’. Nels’ solo on that version of ‘Ashes of American Flags’ is, I think, even better than this one. Check it out.
I think Tweedy is the best artist around. Has been for a long time now. But back in the early days, Wilco seemed more like a ‘band’. Today they’re a collection of great musicians. I prefer the former. The songs hold up on their own.
I can see both sides (before Nels vs after), and the future remains to be seen. But I’ve been w/Wilco seen the beginning and have to admit that SBS caused me to stop and think. And listen. This wasn’t the Wilco I knew. Then I reaized: We all change and Jeff certainly has. I think that had a lot to do with Jay’s departure from the band: Jeff had to be free to go though the changes he needed to go through. As is demonstrated on The Wilco CD that comes in their “The Wilco Book,” the trio (Jeff, John and Glenn) have the core that will make any lineup work. SBS was a step along the way, and where Wilco from here remains to be seen. Word is their upcoming 2009 release will display another side of the “Nels lineup.” I for one will be there to hear what this step will give us, the fans. And you cannot argue–Nels is fantastic!