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Published: 2010/08/16

Wilco (The Festival)

Wilco hosted its first annual Solid Sound festival this past weekend in North Adams, MA at MASS MoCA. In addition to the festival’s host band and a solo set by band principal Jeff Tweedy, the three-day event featured performances by each member of Wilco’s side bands: On Fillmore (drummer Glenn Kotche), The Nels Cline Singers (guitarist Nels Cline), The Autumn Defense (bassist John Stirratt and multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone) and Pronto (keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen). Legendary gospel singer Mavis Staples also performed and invited out Tweedy—who produced her latest release—for the two songs he contributed to her project, “You Are Not Alone” and “Only the Lord Knows.”

The weekend’s non-Wilco related entertainment featured a mix of progressive/roots-oriented bands (Avi Buffalo, The Books, Deep Blue Organ Trio, Mountain Man, Sir Richard Bishop, Vetiver), comedy (Hannibal Buress, John Mulaney, Kristen Schaal and Todd Barry), kids entertainment (Story Pirates) and theater (Bread & Puppet), as well as a Wilco poster retrospective, poster printing workshop, Pat Sansone’s Polaroid Exhibit,
Nels Cline’s Solid Sound Stompbox Station, Glenn Kotche’s Interactive Drumhead and other site-specific projects. The Numero Group also offered a mix of audio and video, including a selection of video shorts by filmmaker Al Jarnow (father of longtime Relix/ contributer Jesse Jarnow).

Wilco headlined Solid Sound Saturday night with its only set at the festival. The extended performance featured 30 songs from throughout the group’s canon, including the four-song encore of “California Stars,” “Walken,” “Heavy Metal Drummer” and “Hoodoo Voodoo.” Tweedy’s solo set featured an entirely different selection of songs, including the Wilco standards “Via Chicago,” “I’m Always In Love” and “Spiders (Kidsmoke).” In addition, Tweedy covered Bob Dylan (“Simple Twist of Fate”), nodded to his previous band Uncle Tupelo (“New Madrid”) and played some songs from Wilco’s Woody Guthrie project with Billy Bragg (“Remember The Mountain Bed”). The latter part of his set opened into something of a jam session, featuring appearances by several of the festival’s performers: Sir Richard Bishop sat in on his own “Tennessee Porch Song,” The Books’ Nick Zammuto sang on “Ingrid Bergman,” the members of Avi Buffalo joined on a cover of Neil Young’s “Look Out For My Love,” Nels Cline played lap steel on “Dash 7” and R.E.M. sideman Scott McCaughey emerged for a song he recorded with Tweedy with the Minus 5, “The Family Gardener.”

Tweedy’s encore featured several additional members of Wilco. The three-song segment opened with Tweedy on bass, John Stirratt on lead vocals and acoustic guitar, Cline on lap steel, Pat Sansone on keyboard and Greg Wieczorek on drums for Stirratt’s one lead vocal in the Wilco canon, “It’s Just That Simple.” Next, Stirratt switched to bass, Cline picked up a banjo and Mike Jorgensen emerged for “Passenger Side.” Outrageous Cherry’s Matthew Smith then joined the ensemble for a show-closing “Outta Mind (Outta Sight).”

Here’s a look at Wilco’s set

Wilco (the song)
Ashes of American Flags
Bull Black Nova
You Are My Face
Hell Is Chrome
I Am Trying To Break Your Heart >
One Wing
A Shot in the Arm
Deeper Down
Handshake Drugs
Impossible Germany
Someday, Some Morning, Sometime>
Laminated Cat
Cars Can’t Escape>
Wishful Thinking
I’ll Fight
I Must Be High
Nothing’severgonnastandinmyway (again)
Jesus, etc
You Never Know
A Magazine Called Sunset
Hate It Here
I’m The Man Who Loves You
On and On and On
California Stars
Heavy Metal Drummer
Hoodoo Voodoo

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