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Wilco Swerve Past Sound Problems in Epic Spanish Set

It’s not often Wilco get unstuck playing a gig. A good 15 years of playing — from sweaty clubs to today’s arena-sized shows — means Jeff Tweedy and gang have learned to take the odd mishap, technical failure or sound problem in their stride.

Friday’s set at Primavera Sound 2010 in Barcelona was a perfect example on how something as minor as an … errr … major technical fault during the opening number needn’t derail Chicago’s favourite sons.

‘Wilco (The Song)’ was barely out of the traps when most of the sound cut out, leaving Tweedy to sing alongside little else other than Glenn Kotche’s pounding drumming, with the rest of the band doing a more than passable impression of a mime rock group.

With the sound cutting in and out, Tweedy said, “You know, we’re having some difficulties. While we sort that out, why don’t we sing a song together.’ ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’s plaintive Jesus, Etc.’ rang out, and Primavera’s crowd didn’t hold back.

With the problems sorted, Wilco’s solid latter-day line-up — Tweedy, Kotche, bassist John Stirratt, multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone, guitarist Nels Cline and keyboard player Mikael Jorgenson — played an epic set, in keeping with the setlist for this most recent tour. Cline’s guitar odyssey on ‘Impossible Germany’ caused the biggest cheer of the festival so far. Proof you really can’t keep a good band down.