Recap: Wilco at XPoNential Festival
WHEN: July 21st
For the first time in XPoNential’s history the festival utilized the Susquehanna Bank Center for the Saturday night headlining sets. After the music ended at Wiggins Park, the massive crowd marched towards SBC for a night of great music. The amphitheater and lawn area began to fill up quickly and around 7:15 P.M when Dr. Dog took the stage.
The Philly natives were met with thunderous applause as the band began their set. Dr. Dog are known for their explosive, high energy performances, and there XPoNential set was no exception. The next band set to perform was the Avett Brothers. Hailing from North Carolina the band trudge through some decent folk tunes. Both Dr. Dog and the Avett Brothers garnered tons of praise from the large crowd, and by the time they finished the SBC was just about filled.
At 10 P.M. Jeff Tweedy, John Stirrat, Nels Cline, Pat Sansone, Mikael Jorgensen, and Glenn Kotche took the festival stage. To say that I was enraptured would be an understatement. Wilco is arguably one of the greatest live acts around these days; they just keep getting tighter and tighter.
As the lights went down, the band busted into “Art of Almost,” the opening track of 2011′s outstanding The Whole Love. From the electronic glitches to the syncopated drums, “Art of Almost,” proved to be a great opener. The song’s climactic finish led perfectly into “I Might”, which follows sequentially on The Whole Love. The set began to take an odd turn when the band pulled out the famous b-side/Loose Fur song “Laminated Cat.” It’s not that the song is a complete rarity to see, but in a festival setting it was a pleasant surprise. Equally surprising was deep cut, “She’s a Jar”, which came on the heels of “Laminated Cat”.
The remainder of the set was filled with live mainstays like “Hate it Here,” from 2007′s Sky Blue Sky and “Handshake Drugs,” from 2005′s A Ghost is Born. The set was lively and engaging with Tweedy and Co. looking like they were clearly having fun. As the band began their last few songs of the night, Tweedy thanked the crowd for coming and announced that there would be no encore due to the festival’s time limits. They then closed their set with crowd-favorite “Shot in the Arm,” a track from their classic album Summerteeth. As audience members filed out of the Susquehanna Bank Center, they were treated to a pleasant surprise. Despite the band’s warning that no encore would be played, the six member band took the stage once more to give hungry fans one more a final song, the upbeat rocker, “The Late Greats.” Over-all Wilco brought what was expected of them to the XPoNential stage; a collection of well written rock songs performed with the perfect combination of technical proficiency and off the cuff charm.