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Wednesday, June 22, 2005


We were short a chair in our living room, so a guy from work gave us one that he had sitting in his garage. He said it was his "thinkin' chair." I feel pretty honored. It's made of fake wood and black vinyl.

I like to take a moment once in awhile to appreciate the fact that I'm old enough to have lived in a time such that vinyl furnishings were still ubiquitous enough that my childhood contains memories of people on TV selling "As Seen On TV" vinyl repair kits. They kinda looked like fingernail polish bottles and brushes, and there were different colors you could get to match your particular chair, or whatever. And they would show a hand brushing some of the stuff on a big ol' rip, and there would be one of those special effect sparkles, and suddenly there would be no rip there anymore.


Monday, June 20, 2005


OK. So. Went to Wakarusa this past weekend. It's one of them music/camping/drinking/smoking stuff festivals..with hippies and stuff. We only went one day, because we knew a person that had tickets to get rid of. Saturday. Saw, among others, Blueground Undergrass, Jazz Mandolin Project, Splitlip Rayfield, Neko Case (I don't know where her boyfriends were), and Wilco. First of all, an observation: watching a whole bunch of self-important jam bands play for several hours, and then watching Wilco, makes you realize that Wilco is a real live rock and roll band. Whereas all the other bands are pretty much just a bunch of hacks. Sure, they can play their instruments, but they can't make any music that can hold my attention for more than about 2 minutes. It's kind of the Dave Matthews Band Syndrome (DMBS) that Bennett once diagnosed. All of the musicians are obviously very gifted at playing their instruments, but they don't know how to make music with them. See also Joe Satriani.

Some caveats.....Splitlip Rayfield was actually pretty good, if you like 600 mph bluegrass about cars and trucks. Neko Case was also very good. Apart from that though...I have to agree with someone else who commented on the Lawrence.com webpage who was questioning why anyone would pay $120 to see a bunch of no-name bands (Wilco and some other notable exceptions excepted) that normally couldn't even half-fill a pub for a $5 show in downtown Lawrence. I didn't wait around to see String Cheese. I was tired of hippies by then. It sucks to be at an outdoor concert and not be able to breathe because there is so much smoke (tobacco and otherwise).

So, it's official. Wilco is one of the (few) great bands of our time. I sort of remember a forgettable performance (I know..) they put on in D.C. in 2000. They must have been tired. Or depressed. Or really drunk. They were outstanding on Saturday. I wish they would have played longer, and I wish they would have chosen to play a few more songs from their back catalog, rather than Spiders (Spiders was cool live, but for my bucks I like short, tight songs better than 12-minute long, feedback-ridden freakouts), and I wish they had done a Uncle Tupelo reunion, since Son Volt was there, but all in all, it was a great show. They played most of the songs off A Ghost is Born, a few off Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (War on War, Jesus, etc., and, predictably, Heavy Metal Drummer), two off Summer Teeth, only one off Being There (Kingpin - sadly not Forget the Flowers or The Lonely 1), and none off A.M.. They also played two off the Mermaid Avenue albums - Airline to Heaven (they must be fond of this one, because I remember them playing it in D.C., too), and Hesitating Beauty, which Abbie so inexplicably and adorably titled My Dear Elaine, on the mix-tape she made me.

After seeing them live, I will likely spend the next few weeks re-listening to all their old (and not-so-old) albums. When I first heard Wilco (back in about '96), I remember thinking that they seemed like a band that would be around for awhile - a feeling that was reinforced after I bought Being There, and spent about 3 months incessantly absorbing it. I no longer have any doubt as to whether they will be remembered as a great band. They will be.

Oh yeah. And some guy died. At the festival.

Yeah, I know. Europe pictures and stuff. I'm working on it. Kinda.


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