Our axe-pal Nels Courtney Cline has always been a little bit of a fashion clotheshorse -- we're thinking in particular of that trippy 1970s-era Givenchy Shirt he likes to wear onstage with Das Wilco -- but Holy Crap, that Day of the Dead-themed Nudie suit he sported at the Wilco Lollapalooza set last week absolutely blew us away:
[Photos by Amrit]
Amy Phillips of Pitchfork Media saw the Wilco show and gave this appropriately Pitchforkian assessment:
About halfway through Wilco's set, I thought that I already had my review figured out: Make a joke about Barack Obama not showing up, make a joke about how the band's snazzy rhinestoned Nudie suits couldn't cover up the numbing mediocrity of the music on their last two albums. Point out that "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" (which they played second) is still a fucking amazing song, and Nels Cline is still a fucking amazing guitar player (see: his solo on "Spiders [Kidsmoke]"). Say something about how the whole thing was pleasant but dull, whatever.
But then, during "Pot Kettle Black", a guy in a Hawaiian shirt standing next to me with a beer in his hand asked me how I was enjoying the show. I said I was kind of bored. He looked stunned. "But it's such a nice night!" he exclaimed. "Everybody's having such a good time!" He waved his arms around to indicate all of the happy people around us.
You know what? Fuck it. He's right. How can I hate on a Wilco show on a beautiful (and not humid!) night in downtown Chicago? Regular dudes having a good time making music for regular people having a good time listening to them. Couples with their arms around each other, families sitting on picnic blankets, high school kids sneaking cigarettes. Everybody singing along to "A Shot in the Arm".
I'm not that mean. It was a great time. There, I said it.
A couple of newsy notes: Wilco played a new song, apparently called "One Wing". It started out as a pretty, melancholy jam with lyrics falling squarely in the Tweedy self-hatred canon ("I was a curse," "I cast a shadow on this world," etc.) But then it built to a nasty, noisy climax complete with a ripping Cline solo. Right on.
Yes, Amy, we agree: Nels is one great fucking face-melter. He'll be demonstrating said chops in a bunch of Post-Wilco summer tour shows in September, two of which we'd like to highlight: Monday, Sept. 1st sees Nels and his Quintet of Crypto pals Becca Michalek, Ben Goldberg, Joel Hamilton and Scott Amendola performing the music of the late great SoCal composer Jimmy Giuffre as part of the inaugural Angel City Jazz Festival. (Nels' twin bro, the formidable drummer Alex Cline, will be appearing on the same day with the Arthur Blythe Quintet.) Anyone who heard Nels' critically acclaimed New Monastery, which celebrated the music of avant-garde pianist Andrew Hill, will know it won't be just a rehash but a total systems refit of the most radical order. Mr. Giuffre, prepared to be "Nelsed."
On Friday, September 12, Nels will pop up onstage at the NYC's Knitting Factory for the Fender 50th Anniversary Jazzmaster Concert along with Tom Verlaine, Thurston Moore and J Mascis. Should be a killer show. Unfortunately, we're too poor to go. Ahem. Yes.
CRYPTOGRAMOPHONE: WILL BLOG FOR PLANE TICKET