Friday, June 22, 2018
Features and More

Old or new, it's Wilco

I last saw Wilco in concert in 1999, some half-dozen albums and members ago.

That Wilco was not the same Wilco that rose from the ashes of alt-country icons Uncle Tupelo in the early '90s, nor was it the same Wilco that became critical alt-rock darlings after 2001's landmark album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, nor was it the same Wilco that played the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa Monday night.

But the secret of Wilco's success — and the genius of frontman Jeff Tweedy — is that your history with the band matters not. No matter when you find them, you know who it is you're hearing.

Performing for an all-ages crowd of 1,960, Tweedy led the rollicking six-piece in a more than two-hour revue of the Chicago band's 18-year songbook.

You want feather-soft, gently rollicking folk? You got it. You want head-spinning, avant-garde alternative? You got that, too. And that was just in the first two songs: One Sunday Morning (Song for Jane Smiley's Boyfriend) and Art of Almost.

Both of those songs are from Wilco's latest album, The Whole Love, which paints a nice picture of Wilco circa 2012, with Tweedy still shape-shifting his way through each nook of the American rock 'n' roll canon, and making each influence his own.

The oft-tormented singer seemed in good spirits as he grinned and whistled his way through the bouncy Heavy Metal Drummer, from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot; and led the crowd in singalong to A Shot In The Arm, from 1999's Summerteeth.

And while most of Wilco's current lineup was not there for Summerteeth, it's been a keeper for a while now.

In guitarist Nels Cline, Tweedy has found a showier sideman who can breathe fire into his gentlest tunes (Impossible Germany), and rock a double-necked axe when it's called for (Dawned On Me).

Stylistically, the entire band can spin on a dime. The Steely Dannish Spiders (Kidsmoke) went from AM-gold to polished rock 'n' roll chrome, while War on War was a futurist take on classic rock, boiling to a cacophony of guitars and synthesizers. Elsewhere, the band shifted seamlessly from the classic soul of Jesus, Etc. to the classic power-pop of I'm Always In Love.

It is this malleability that has made them one of the great American rock bands — if you don't believe me, just ask the furriest clerk at your local record store. He'll tell you. At great length.

When Wilco filled its second encore with three songs from 1996's Being There: Misunderstood, Monday and Outtasite (Outta Mind) — it was a raucous atmosphere in Morsani Hall, and the songs still sounded as fresh as they did in the '90s.

Such is Wilco's gift: To breathe new life into everything old, and somehow make it all sound like nothing you've ever heard.

Comments
Enjoy Israeli Couscous, Swiss Chard and Peppers warm or at room temperature

Enjoy Israeli Couscous, Swiss Chard and Peppers warm or at room temperature

By Katie WorkmanIsraeli or Mediterranean couscous are tiny balls of toasted semolina pasta that plump up when cooked into toothsome, slightly less tiny balls of pasta. They make a great base for a side or salad. You can make the couscous according to...
Published: 06/22/18
Bar review: St. Pete’s Garage is a dive with Pride

Bar review: St. Pete’s Garage is a dive with Pride

Last year’s St. Pete Pride went smoothly, despite some behind-the-scenes drama involving the decision to relocate the parade to the downtown waterfront, rather than the Grand Central District, where it had traditionally been held. After all, the Gran...
Published: 06/21/18
Local craft beer of the week: Beach Slap Piña Colada Wheat Ale from Mad Beach Craft Brewing Company

Local craft beer of the week: Beach Slap Piña Colada Wheat Ale from Mad Beach Craft Brewing Company

"Hooray, it’s summer!" exclaimed no Floridians. But if it’s summer proper and not just the usual year-round weather, you might as well embrace the heat and humidity with a trip to the beach, accompanied by some suitably refreshing beers. While you’r...
Published: 06/21/18
Wine dinners, beer projects and more will wet your whistle this summer

Wine dinners, beer projects and more will wet your whistle this summer

FILIPINO FOOD: WELCOME CHISMISHave you been to the Heights Public Market at the 73,000-square-foot Armature Works yet? It’s the buzzy food market in Tampa Heights with more than a dozen vendors offering up everything from rolled ice cream to Cuban sa...
Published: 06/20/18
On stage this week: Freefall Theatre’s ‘The Musical of Musicals,’ Jay Pharoah

On stage this week: Freefall Theatre’s ‘The Musical of Musicals,’ Jay Pharoah

SENDUP: MUSICAL OF MUSICALSFive composers, a talented cast, choreography by Cheryl Lee and music directed by Michael Raabe — that’s Freefall Theatre’s recipe for a laugh-filled, season-ending summer musical, appropriately titled The Musical of Musica...
Published: 06/20/18
Artists’ talks and Sharon Norwood’s definition of beauty

Artists’ talks and Sharon Norwood’s definition of beauty

MARK MAKING: DEFINING BEAUTYBlack, squiggly lines are at the center of multidisciplinary artist Sharon Norwood’s works, an exhibition of which titled "Defining Beauty" opens at Tempus Projects on Saturday. Norwood’s use of the line in a variety of me...
Published: 06/20/18
Here’s the skinny on the ketogenic diet: What it is, how to follow it properly

Here’s the skinny on the ketogenic diet: What it is, how to follow it properly

It started with jugs of olive oil and cans of tuna, lots of it, which my husband hauled in one day and plunked on the counter. "That’s my lunch!"That was about three months ago, and every day since there has been a new entity in our house to consider...
Published: 06/20/18
Five ideas for rainbow-themed foods to serve at your Pride party

Five ideas for rainbow-themed foods to serve at your Pride party

More than 50,000 people are estimated to attend Pride weekend in St. Petersburg, which runs Friday to Sunday. (June is LGBTQ Pride Month.) Whether you plan to march in the parade or host your own smaller gathering, we’ve selected five rainbow-themed ...
Published: 06/20/18
My husband has been on the ketogenic diet for three months. Here’s how he does it.

My husband has been on the ketogenic diet for three months. Here’s how he does it.

This week I wrote about something with which I have become very familiar: the ketogenic diet. If you’re like, "Huh?" you are where I was three months ago, before my husband, Phil, embarked on the weight-loss regimen. The keto diet is a high-fat, low-...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Jobsite’s ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ should be more gripping than it is

Jobsite’s ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ should be more gripping than it is

TAMPA — The virtues of Dancing at Lughnasa, with which Jobsite Theater closes its season, are many. This drama by the celebrated Brian Friel opened in 1990 to much acclaim. It captures a family’s joys and sadnesses, and the quickness with which one s...
Published: 06/19/18