Friday Night: Wilco At Verizon Wireless Theater

Wilco Verizon Wireless Theater May 6, 2011

Jeff Tweedy's kind of an asshole.

But it's okay, because we're familiar with the type:The guy who grew up a snotty punk-rock kid in the '80s, went on to form a band that just happened to become one of the most critically lauded acts of that era before they broke up, then went on to form another group that would go on to become a critical darling of the millennial set as well. But for differing career aspirations (and a marked lack of musical talent), Aftermath can see a lot of similarities between ourselves and him.

So don't get us wrong: Tweedy may be an asshole, but he's our kind of asshole.

This streak of deliberate contrariness that's informed much of Wilco's latter-era releases has done as much to alienate old fans - most still clinging to thin hopes of an Uncle Tupelo reunion - as it has to win them new converts for the experimentation on albums like Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost is Born.

All the same, Aftermath could never shake the feeling Tweedy just really likes to push his fans' buttons.

Wilco wasn't touring behind any new release when they hit Verizon Friday. And with Tweedy back in good health and the rest of the band honed to a fine point as they work on recording their eighth album, Get Well Soon Everybody, the show was a tight, powerful walk through choice selections from the group's last 15 years.

Yankee and Ghost provided the bulk of the set list, with the most intense crowd reaction coming for "Jesus, Etc." (including a singalong), "Via Chicago," and "Handshake Drugs." Tweedy's onstage banter was typically sardonic ("Hello, Texas... I'm sorry to hear so many people have been messing with you"), which everyone ate up.

We're all dazzling, post-ironic urbanites here, after all.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar