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Wilco Solid Sound Festival

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maybe campsites were hard to come by, but my friend snagged a spot @ Savoy state forest and it was a great site, only 10 or so miles away from MoCA. $12 is a nice price for lodging.

 

the only downpoints i can see so far is running out of Blind Faith (c'mon Magic Hat...not everyone likes fruit in the beer, and those were the other two choices), and Glen's exhibit when he was discussing it. they shuold have mic'd him, and also turned off the drums in the other rooms, since it was impossible to catch most of what he said unless you were within 4' of him.

 

i was a bit bummed that press wasn't allowed to take any shots of Jeff in the dunk tank, and also i was getting into the Nels pedal thing just as he was leaving. i also should have spent more time w/ On Fillmore's set...they were good. i should have abandoned the Tweedy dunk tank and not worried about getting up front and waiting for The Baseball Project. next time...

 

i also wish we could have shot songs 4-6 rather than 1-3...the lights for Wilco (the song) and Bull Black Nova are usually pretty difficult to work with, and they have been constants of the 1st three of the three Wilco shows I've shot this year.

 

 

since i've been camping, i haven't had a chance to post any of my photos or festival report yet, but might squeeze in some quick photos before the shows start today...

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Some sad/bad news from Wilco's tweet: Someone apparently has deliberately destroyed one of Glenn Kotche's snares at Solid Sound. Anyone have pics?

 

Not sure how this could have happened? Security next to them at all?

 

Wishing I was there.... :ohwell

 

i don't think it was malicious, but it certainly screwed up what he was gonna do w/ it...

 

this is what it originally looked like:

 

p423549131-4.jpg

 

and this is post-festival goer modification:

p309369049-4.jpg

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From a Solid Sound tweet: We are moving The Autumn Defense & Avi Buffalo into Hunter Auditorium.

 

Hmm. Are there dark clouds looming over?

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yes, chance of showers and possible thunderstorms.

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Ya, hunter auditorium is pretty full right now waiting for the autumn defense. All seats full, and standing room is going quick. heard Jeff soundchecking at joes field before, definitely played in a future age, and I think sky blue sky

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The Autumn Defense finished their set with Big Star's You Can't Have Me.

 

Peter Coyote was spotted in the crowd last night.

 

Some nice pictures up already of The Autumn Defense and Nels Cline Singers (who just went on stage) on those Twitter links I gave on the previous page. I won't repost them here. Saving some room.

 

Edit: Apparently Tweedy was soundchecking Neil Young's Look Out For My Love at Joe's Field moments ago.

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I have to say, while on the issue of race at the festival, that there were some (white) boys in their late teen standing near me about 10 rows back, center, who were shouting obnoxious, disrespectful and borderline racist remarks when Mavis Staples was on, and I really wanted to deck them.

 

 

Really? Guess racist knuckleheads don't just show up south of the Mason Dixon line.

I would have bet that the crowd would have self policed that kind of shit at a Wilco show.

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i don't think it was malicious, but it certainly screwed up what he was gonna do w/ it...

 

this is what it originally looked like:

 

p423549131-4.jpg

 

and this is post-festival goer modification:

p309369049-4.jpg

 

Looks pretty malicious to me.

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Review from the Albany Times Union.

 

August 15, 2010 at 9:41 am by Greg Haymes By GREG HAYMES

Special to the Times Union

 

NORTH ADAMS – From its very conception more than a year and a half ago, the Solid Sound Festival has been about the integration of music and art, and on Saturday afternoon at MASS MoCA it all came together beautifully. The Vermont-based a cappella trio of women known as Mountain Man raised their voices and offered an impromptu performance in the museum’s largest gallery. There was political theater in the museum courtyard as Bread & Puppet Theater performed “The Decapitalization Circus.” And at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday night, the eclectic Chicago rock band Wilco – who organized the three-day festival with MASS MoCA – took the stage to wrap up day two with a sprawling, glorious two and a half hour show that left the crowd – and the band – ecstatic.

 

“Did you guys hear the train go by during that song?” Wilco bandleader Jeff Tweedy asked the field full of cheering fans after the swirling psychedelia of “Deeper Down.” “We made that happen. It’s part of our installation.”

 

 

Throughout the day on Saturday, eight musical acts – selected by Wilco – performed outdoors at three different locations throughout the museum’s massive complex. And the music was dizzying diverse.

 

There was the fractured pop-punk of the three-man Maine-based Brenda. The exquisite flamenco-jazz acoustic guitar instrumental sounds of Sir Richard Bishop. The lush folk harmonies of Vetiver. With self-indulgent art-music of the duo On Fillmore (led by Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche). The swinging-for-the-fences, flat-out rock ‘n’ roll of the all-star Baseball Project (which featured R.E.M.’s Mike Mills pinch-hitting for his bandmate Peter Buck on bass).

 

And there was the magnificent gospel of veteran soul singer Mavis Staples, who offered a spine-chilling preview of her upcoming album, “You Are Not Alone,” which Tweedy produced. With a soulful voice that seemed to rise to the heavens and back, Staples roared through a batch of traditional gospel tunes, as well as a couple of Tweedy-penned numbers. And, yes, Tweedy joined Staples and her band for a couple of songs, strumming his acoustic guitar.

 

But the night belonged to Wilco, and the six-man band was holding nothing back. Tweedy writes wonderful pop songs, and the band takes the beautiful melodies to anthemic levels. But in a true act of subversion, Wilco then begins to deconstruct their own carefully assembled masterpieces with thrilling bouts of jagged, often dissonant sonic sabotage. The band primary sabateur is guitarist Nels Cline, who can shift from beautiful Jim Hall-like jazz passages to total cacaphony in a single measure of music. He did that time after time on Saturday night on such songs as “Ashes of American Flags,” “A Shot in the Arm” and “Impossible Germany.”

 

In the quintessential moment of the night, Wilco played “Jesus, Etc.,” Tweedy left his microphone behind and led the crowd of 5-6,000 fans in a gigantic sing-along.

 

“I can’t believe how much fun this has been,” Tweedy proclaimed. “And it ain’t even over.” The festival concludes today with a solo performance by Tweedy and assortment of musical friends.

 

_____________________________

 

It was great to see Johnny Lackey's 4 'winter residency' posters included in the Wilco poster retrospective hung in the museum -- curated by Mass MOCA! :cheekkiss

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Overall, I had a great time. Being that this is my area, I thought the town of North Adams and the MoCa did an excellent job of making sure things went smooth. If you go down to Pittsfield, the whole event would've been a giant clusterf*ck where everything that could go wrong usually does! All the staff and volunteers at the MoCa were wonderful as well. Very friendly and helpful, but certainly not overbearing. As one of my friends who was working security told me, everyone was good but a few people needed a reminder that they were in a museum.

 

Saturday's show was great, but for me there was a very weird vibe from where I was standing. Now, I could've been really high stoned, but there was I vibe I wasn't digging. I was about four or five people deep dead center in front of my man Glenn. I don't know what it was, but I seemed to have been surrounded by the assholes. Getting absolutely crowded, constantly bumped, one girl dropping to the ground crying. I thought we were going to witness the miracle of conception between crying girl and her boyfriend before the show started.

 

My biggest complaint, however, is the people so close to the stage with chairs and blankets. I think that really caused a lot of the crowding and didn't allow for a lot of moving around. I hope that if/when they do this festival next year, they have a section specifically for standing room and the rest for people who want to lounge on blankets and chairs. I have no problem with people bringing blankets and chairs, but they shouldn't be allowed to be that close to the stage, IMO. It's like bringing a chair to an indoor GA show.

 

This is my third time seeing Wilco (such a low number is so sad) but my best view and this is what I took away from watching them...

 

(1) Glenn is the best drummer touring and one of the best ever. He's got the gymnastic style of Neil Peart with a groove heard since John Bonham. Just listening to Glenn doesn't do him justice. He needs to be seen AND unheard. Also, it was great to meet him after On Fillmore. Very down to earth and classy. He took the time to sign and take a picture with everyone who wanted one. Classy and phenomenal as a musician.

 

(2) Pat may be the best musician in the band. I was absolutely blown away at how smooth his playing is on all instruments. Amazing backing vocalist and his fills on guitar and piano are really stunning. The last two shows I was too far away from Pat to really get a good feel for what he does, but damn... he's incredible.

 

(3) Wilco, along with My Morning Jacket, The Black Crowes and The Drive By Truckers, are one of the best bands touring today. Anyone who would pass up a Wilco show is foolish.

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I had such a blast at the festival this weekend. It was my 6th Wilco show, and they were just as impressive as they always were. It was also my second time seeing the Nels Cline singers, and they are truly unreal. A real testament to how good Nels is no matter who he plays with.

 

The real highlights for me were the firsts. Unfortunately, i couldn't catch Pronto or On Fillmore, but the Autumn Defense really impressed me. I didn't really know what to expect, but they are really tight and have some really good tunes. The Tweedy solo show was also incredible. Didn't expect that many special guests, and to hear songs he doesn't normally play (especially Dash 7) was just absolutely unreal. The installations were a ton of fun as well. Glenn's drumheads were sometimes a bit confusing but definitely entertaining. Nels' exhibit was fantastic. I must've spent a combined hour and a half there playing with the pedals. For anyone who couldn't see it, i have a few videos of the installation up on my youtube page (screen name also JA2112).

 

All in all, i think the festival was a huge success. The music was great, the atmosphere was very relaxed (i spotted Michael and John walking through the festival multiple times), and it was worth the 7 hour round trip. I hope they do this again.

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Okay, it's late so I'm just going to note down a few random musings while I have free wifi.

 

- fucking awesome weekend!!!!

- what happened to pecan pie???

- crowd was so polite. Excpet for worlds worst mother who parked the stroller in the sun while she sat in the shade.

- the dunking booth. Looooved it. Saw John and mikael in there, didn't get Jeff. Did anyone else have a go?

- so great to see Jeff solo. I've not had the chance before and I wasn't disappointed. New Madrid.... Sigh. He's a funny bugger too.

- met lots of fabulous people. You know who you are.

- hearing mike mills sing happy birthday on a fans guitar in a bar tonight.

- free wifi on site. International roaming is nasty, so I appreciated it even if I look like a nerd now.

- all the volunteers who told me everything like where to get icecream to which flavour I should get. So helpful.

- got lost in the museum, it's quite scary. I never did find Glenns drums. I was just happy to find the exit. Art scares me.

- that being said, the guitar strings strung through the room impressed me way more than the stompboxes. Nothing against the stompboxes, it's just the guitar strings were amazing.

 

Anyway, think I'm close to babbeling now. Huge thanks to everyone involved in organising it. You've just ousted the grand canyon as the highlight of my US trip. Thanks everyone for being so friendly to a girl far from home. Still ten days left of holidays, hooray!!!

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Nothing to add that hasn't already been said, but it does bear repeating; great town, great museum, great staff, great logistics, great people attending and great weather. We drove from Michigan, a got a few surprised looks from the people in the Bennington VT, hotel we stayed as the other guests were from CT and Maine. Was this a mostly New Englander event? It it were a single Wilco show, I wouldn't drive 11 hours- Wilco has been to Michigan 3 times in the since July of 2009. THe idea of a festival with music that reflects Wilco's interests and MassMoCa had to be worth the drive. We weren't disappointed, Met some friendly people. We didn't bring kids, but I hope there was enough to keep them interested and entertained. Got home early monday morning, tired but happy we were able to attend and look forward to next year!

 

JoeIMG_2394.jpg

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i just want to say that this festival exceeded my expectations. the museum was incredible, and the musicianship was incredible.

 

one of the highlights for me was simply the attitude of the fans at both the wilco and jt solo set. i've never felt more comfortable or more relaxed at a concert before. at sunday's show, my father had fallen on the way into the field and cut up his hand and knee. the kindness and concern shown by those around us was absolutely remarkable. if any of those individuals happen to be on here, i just want to thank you all once more!

 

what a fantastic weekend. thanks wilco, fans, and all of those involved in organizing and maintaining the positive atmosphere.

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A question from the one western mass wilco obsessive who didn't go this weekend (i swear i have a good reason, a doctor's note, whatever you need... ok, my 4 year old would have loved it, but I wasn't gonna bring the 7 month old, just a wee bit small for a long day like that), so, is there any word or confirmation of anything going on next year? Because, well, bring a 5 and a year+7 month old doesn't seem too bad of an idea.

 

Glad everyone had a great time, wish we were there.

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A question from the one western mass wilco obsessive who didn't go this weekend (i swear i have a good reason, a doctor's note, whatever you need... ok, my 4 year old would have loved it, but I wasn't gonna bring the 7 month old, just a wee bit small for a long day like that), so, is there any word or confirmation of anything going on next year? Because, well, bring a 5 and a year+7 month old doesn't seem too bad of an idea.

 

Glad everyone had a great time, wish we were there.

 

The word is this (in the style of politicians) - in a conversation with Jeff the museum director, Joe Thompson, said

 

Jeff [Tweedy] and I talked this morning, and we had a hard time coming up with any reasons not to do it.

 

http://www.iberkshires.com/blog/?bid=454

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The word is this (in the style of politicians) - in a conversation with Jeff the museum director, Joe Thompson, said

 

Jeff [Tweedy] and I talked this morning, and we had a hard time coming up with any reasons not to do it.

 

http://www.iberkshires.com/blog/?bid=454

 

That is consistent with Tweedy's statements at Sunday's show that they'd like to be back next year. Although I heard that the promoter was taking a loss because not enough tickets sold, I hope that's not true and they find a way to do it again.

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Where was the news about the promoter taking a loss? And who would the promoter be in this case? Wilco? MoCA?

 

Wilco was the promoter and i don't see how they could have lost much money, if any at all. Unless they are figuring what they (the band and all it's other projects) would normally get paid for a gig. The vibe i got from all members of the band either just walking around or from the stage is that money was the last thing on their mind.

 

Where's the overhead? The band paying them self's? The other obscure artist i sure didn't cost that much, and were probably rewarded and paid more then normally expected. The venue got exposure and North Adams and the surrounding city's got a nice shot in the financial arm in this recession, which in turns helps out Mass MoCA. So i can't see them holding Wilco hostage in venue fees. Event Insurance? a drop in the bucket.

 

Wilco didn't get rich at the event but i don't think they will go broke either. i'm sure when the numbers are crunched and bills are paid Solid Sound will be considered a success.

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Wilco was the promoter and i don't see how they could have lost much money, if any at all. Unless they are figuring what they (the band and all it's other projects) would normally get paid for a gig. The vibe i got from all members of the band either just walking around or from the stage is that money was the last thing on their mind.

 

Where's the overhead? The band paying them self's? The other obscure artist i sure didn't cost that much, and were probably rewarded and paid more then normally expected. The venue got exposure and North Adams and the surrounding city's got a nice shot in the financial arm in this recession, which in turns helps out Mass MoCA. So i can't see them holding Wilco hostage in venue fees. Event Insurance? a drop in the bucket.

 

Wilco didn't get rich at the event but i don't think they will go broke either. i'm sure when the numbers are crunched and bills are paid Solid Sound will be considered a success.

 

If Wilco was the promoter (and Tweedy did refer to it as "our" event), then the third hand information I was told was wrong. Could be. But I was led to believe that Higher Ground out of Vermont was the promoter. And if that is the case, and the promoter guaranteed the performers a certain payment and paid the costs and took the risk of recouping on ticket sales and merchandise, etc, then it's possible that an event that was hoping to sell 8,000 tickets (I had read that number somewhere) and sold +/- 5,000 could sustain a $$ loss somewhere. Regardless, the vibe all weekend was so relaxed and fun I also got no sense that the band members walking around or in the dunk tank (!) were worrying about the finances. Hoping my info is wrong, 'cause I want them to do it again next year.

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one more thing i forgot to mention was the merch sales! I spent 100 bucks between myself, my wife and gifts for the family. And it appeared the tables were always active throughout. No telling how much cash sales were generated not to mention CC sales. And ca$h sales are a lot easer to profit from, if you get my drift. :shifty

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one more thing i forgot to mention was the merch sales! I spent 100 bucks between myself, my wife and gifts for the family. And it appeared the tables were always active throughout. No telling how much cash sales were generated not to mention CC sales. and Cash sales are a lot easer to profit from if you get my drift. :shifty

 

The merch sales looked to be going strong. I made my own contributions, with a shirt, Autumn Defense cd, and a coffee mug. Although some of that was on a credit card :)

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