Wilco has always been the epitome of a Chicago band.
If you're being literal, I guess the epitome of a Chicago band would be the band "Chicago” … I get it. But to me, Wilco was that band. Not just because they call the city their hometown, but because they’ve been tried and tested, and seen their fair share of hardship over the years. They’re a band that’s withstood the test of time - re-inventing themselves over, and over, and over again. Much like Chicago, Wilco is a true gem, underrated as all get out.
From its inception, Wilco has been known to cover a lot of ground musically. Trying to label them as any one genre (see “alt-country”) is much easier said than done. For more than two decades now, they’ve taken on everything from pop, to experimental, to straight-up noise. Every new album brings a new interpretation of - and identity for - the band from a musical standpoint. From Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, to Sky Blue Sky, to The Whole Love. The only true, lasting similarity lies within Jeff Tweedy’s throaty vocals.
Now back to the Wilco-Chicago connection. For me, it’s more personal opinion than anything else. Being from the area and living in the city for a portion of my formidable music years, I was lucky enough to feel their presence up close and personal. It was a big deal there every time Wilco would play a show, probably because it was rare for them to play just one show at a time.
Often - almost annually it seems - Wilco puts on a multi-show engagement at a local venue in Chicago. This past year they called it the Wilco Winterlude. A six-night string of sold-out shows held at the Riviera Theatre on the city’s north side. Each night, they served up a different set list featuring songs from every era of Wilco’s twenty-plus year career.
Not many bands would be willing to show their love for their listeners - and their hometown - to that extent. But for Wilco, it seems regardless of their touring schedule or personal commitments, they always find time for the city they call home.