Country rock that rocked!
If things in the day over-run then a headline act facing a strict curfew may be he ones to get it in the pants and by the time Wilco arrived on stage, it did seem to be at a time when a headline act should already be polished up and stretching out. For whatever reason, the boys were going to be playing for shorter than they would have liked but made up for it by going for the jugular (always the best way to kill a circus act) and provided a set that would wow all before them.
One noticeable thing about was the Wilco set was how loud it was, it completely overpowered the rest of the event. A good thing about the Indian Summer festival is its closeness meaning everything you want is a short jump and a skip away but at points, it meant there was a mix and wash of the sounds between stages. Trying to catch a couple of songs by Daniel Johnson was made a bit redundant, at part due to his quietness but also due to Wilco sounding huge. Not so huge to withstand a brief infiltration from the Optimo tent near the end of the evening but by and large, the set held its own against the other stages. Then again, anyone wanting to dismiss the band as quiet Americana rockers would have been caught offguard by the barbed guitar attacks.
The bands latest album 'Sky Blue Sky' may have split the critics on its merits but in the live arena, some of the moments came to the fore nicely. 'Impossible Germany' was one such track that on the record was possibly not up to the standard of previous Wilco tracks but in the live arena, it allowed Jeff Tweedy to flex some vocal muscles. At times Jeff is the master of the croaked and fragile delivery, and the mans emotions come through in the sound of his voice as opposed to the lyrics which can be hidden away but the Indian Summer set showcased a band making kick-arse rock and roll.
It was a festival set and one with afore mentioned tight time curfew and Wilco thrashed out a lot of old hits and favourites, including this writers krautrock flavoured favourite 'Spiders.' It may not be the song that Wilco will be most remembered for but its biting stabs and metronome like drumming, its always likely to get a crowd going. And it had followed a fantastic run of songs including 'I'm Always In Love', 'Jesus, etc' and 'I'm The Man Who Loves You' so the sing-along moments had been catered for as well. With a tour that rolls on throughout the summer, including a slot next week in Benicassim when RoomThirteen will likely be in attendance again, so we can see if there is a longer set-time or a change in the set-list, the indications that the Wilco bandwagon is only going to get tighter throughout.
As the set closed with a sky full of sunshine still enveloping Victoria Park, it was clear that Indian Summer was going to have succesful year number two under their belt and the choice of Wilco as a headliner was one that was well chosen as the band stepped up to the plate and delivered when it mattered.