herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

All hail the 'old man of Wilco'

THE "old man of Wilco" is having a blast. And why the hell not?

It is, after all, the last night of Forbidden Fruit. And if Nels Cline wants to make it a memorable one, then so be it. Sure beats the hell out of standing still. Leave that to the acoustic heartbreakers and electro wizards. Because where Wilco is concerned, nobody goes home without joining in.

And don't be fooled by the otherwise inimitable Jeff Tweedy. True, he's the leader. It's his band -- his vision, even. But this is all about Cline -- one of the greatest guitarists in the world.

Yep, the Chicago-based rockers are in terrific form this evening, tearing through an exceptional catalogue (Art of Almost and Impossible Germany standing out) whilst showing some of the shakier newbies on site exactly how it's done.

But the final day wasn't without its flaws. Indeed, it only took 30 minutes for New York noisemakers Liars to remind a tent full of bemused punters that just because you get booked to play a festival, doesn't mean you're any good.

Tuneless warriors with an awful dress sense to boot, this most annoying of experimental rock outfits from the city of cool could learn to sprinkle some melody on their sound.

No such problem, though, with the delightful Andrew Bird, whose wonderful violin skills went down a treat.

Maybe it was because the sun was out. Or that the supporting players were quite a talented bunch. Either way, Bird can certainly hold his own.

Later on, the jangly guitars of Real Estate helped carry a steady yet noticeably one dimensional set over on the Undergrowth Stage.

A sweet and, at times, decorative sound, Real Estate's tunes have everything to offer a guitar hungry audience. Everything but power. A little more energy and this intriguing New Jersey five-piece might be worth a second chance.

But then, I've forgotten how many times I've given James Vincent McMorrow another chance. A striking talent, no doubt, but there's something about his live performances that fail to match the quality of his recordings. It's too dull, too safe.

Unlike Wilco. Who are cracking live, by the way. But you already knew that.

So, same time next year?

Wilco HHHHH Everyone else HHHII

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