Wilco, Tupelo, Belfast
Back in 1992 I saw an amazing act called Uncle Tupelo. The venue was the Borderline in London and the band featured a couple of flaming talents: Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar. They had steered out of Belleville, Illinois with a sound that resonated with punk rock and scrounge rockers like The Replacements and Big Star. But there was
also a lonesome aspect to their music that took us back to the roots of Americana. In fact, their recording of the Carter Family song, 'No Depression', had given a new genre the name for their magazine and their ethos.
By the time I saw them, Uncle Tupelo were starting to fracture, while the rank of major record company execs at the back reflected that a change was coming. But the music was still supreme and I mourned their passing. The band split into Son Volt and Wilco, and it was the later act, fronted by Tweedy, that inspired me most. I picked up their second album, 'Being There' at Newbury Comics in Boston in 1996 and it fried my head, causing me to write a frenzied review in the NME. I met Jeff Tweedy and his cohort Jay Bennett soon after and I found them to be perfectly affable in person and astounding on stage.
Since then they have challenged and amazed us with regular panache. Poor Jay is no longer with us, and Jeff has met with some problems along the way, but the music still rules and last year's self-titled album was another beauty. Therefore we're all in love with the idea of Wilco playing Belfast, September 10, in the Open House Festival. Supported by The Felice Brothers, no less. I'll see you there, good people...