Wilco Returns to the Lawn at Edgefield

Vortex Music Magazine

McMenamins' Edgefield Concerts on the Lawn welcomes back Chicago’s most famous alt-rock band for an evening of snappy hooks and exploratory rock and roll on August 9.

Who doesn’t love a good surprise? Well, maybe not everybody, but when the surprise happens to be a new album from Wilco, one of rock’s most respected and revered bands, one can’t help but be pleased. And what a surprise it was! After nearly four years since last hearing from the alt-country rockers, how about waking up one morning to find that not only did they release an album titled Star Wars, but it’s absolutely free—that should be enough to have you scrambling to find tickets to their upcoming Edgefield show on Sunday, August 9.

Yes, we know, the show has been sold out for quite a while now. But there’s good reason for that, and good reason enough for you to make every effort to find a way to score a ticket. Simply put, Wilco are one of the purest and most well-oiled machines in the music industry today. Their onstage performances are revelatory, captivating and, at times, even a bit goofy.

Frontman Jeff Tweedy never shies away from onstage banter and is apt to uplift your mood over and over again throughout their sets while they flawlessly lay down track after track from their huge offering of songs—nine studio albums and countless b-sides. As a band, they are also notorious for keeping each song they play feeling fresh by exploring and tinkering with the structure of all of their songs whether they are rarities or fan favorites.

After nearly 20 years as a band, and over a decade of playing with the same members together, the camaraderie of the band can be felt with each note they play. And it all spills forth into the audience completing the mutual feeling of love and respect not only for the music they are willing to share, but the overall awareness of gathering together and feeding off each other as audience and performers, performers and audience. One can’t live without the other, and Wilco make sure to show appreciation for that fact by giving every performance their all—making it a one-of-a-kind concert-going encounter.

With their newest release, Star Wars, Wilco has managed to continue to explore endless possibilities in the world of cohesive pop, country and alt-rock. Each song still gives off a hefty Wilco-y vibe, yet sounds decisively diverse from their previous works. At times, there’s even enough space-y weirdness that you may reminisce about a previous album, A Ghost Is Born, which was released 11 years ago!

How many bands can say they’ve consistently nailed being re-inventive over the course of their career while still keeping true to a sound that brought them both critic praise and fan applause? Not many. And with Star Wars dropping so recently (as a free download on July 16), it definitely gives their fans even more reason to hold on to those tickets and fill Edgefield’s hill early. With only a few days until the show, it’s definitely time to start scouring Craigslist.

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