Bob Mould’s return to 9:30 Club in September ranked among David LaMason’s Best Shows of 2021. (Photo by David LaMason)
If you would have told me around this time last year that I would have had the opportunity to see concerts again, let alone in indoor venues -– some that I hadn’t stepped foot inside in over a year and half –- I would have thought you were crazy. But not only did I have that opportunity –- in large part to vaccines, mask mandates, and the venues and artists who did everything in their power to make sure it was safe to experience live music again –- but I saw some of the best shows I’ve seen in years!
Just before things started closing down, just before 2020 was the last time I saw Wilco perform at The Anthem and hot on the heels of the release of their last LP, Ode to Joy. Since the nearly two years since I’d seen them last, Jeff Tweedy and the band have kept fans engaged with things like the Instagram show (there has to be a better word for this) “The Tweedy Show,” broadcast from Jeff’s home with his family and sometimes guests like the other members of Wilco — a homemade variety show with Jeff, Sammy, and Spencer Tweedy often singing / guitar playing / drumming to Tweedy and Wilco songs along with some fantastic covers.
And just in the past month, Jeff has even started a weekly substack which is like a personal newsletter / inspirational / confessional, maybe called “Starship Casual” where the songwriter shares musings and even rough bits of new songs (or songs-to-be). Basically, the band has been keeping things fresh and us fans fed, so to speak. So, after the announcement that Wilco would be touring again this summer, I couldn’t wait to see the guys — Jeff, John, Mikael, Nels, Pat, and Glenn — back again in the DC area. This time at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland.
Jeff Tweedy performs live. (Photo by Matt Ruppert)
Jeff Tweedy has amassed a following in old and new-fashioned ways, building his base across the decades with albums and songs of his own across at least a half-dozen acts (Uncle Tupelo, Wilco, Golden Smog, Loose Fur, Tweedy, solo) and expanding it with Wilco’s Solid Sound festival (reinventing the festival in the modern age), writing a memoir, keeping a steady live sitcom on his wife’s Insta during covid-times, and now sharing a slice of his wisdom with a book about songwriting: How to Write One Song (out now via Dutton).
Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy releases his new solo album, Love Is the King, on Oct. 23 via dBpm Records, with the physical release following on Jan. 15. Today, Jeff gives another taste of the record with new single/video “Gwendolyn.”
LP was one of David LaMason’s best concerts of the year. See where she ranked below. (Photo by David LaMason)
Editor’s Note: This year, we asked our bloggers to name their Top 10 shows of 2019 or choose their Top 10 photos of the year. We will run them over the course of mid-December as our Best of the Year posts.
It’s hard to think we’re nearing the end of 2019. I don’t realize how much has happened throughout the year until I look back and get that “Holy Cow! That was this year?” feeling. And I’ve been experiencing a lot of those lately.
Wilco rock a sold-out show at The Anthem on Oct. 15, 2019. (Photo by David LaMason)
Wilco is one of those bands that continue to grow and evolve — which is part of why they continue to be an inspiration to other musicians and more importantly their fans. Although each album stands alone as a document of that particular point in time — they aren’t trying to redo what’s already been done — the great thing about watching a Wilco show is that you have that chance to hear some of those older songs alongside newer ones.
And even then things are never the same, as the performance like the band can evolve, too. I remember the first time I saw Wilco. It was back in 1997 or 1998 at a wedding hall, and each time since then it’s been different but each has been an amazing performance.