Sunday, August 7th, 2011
"King Of Carrot Flowers Part 1"
Wilco covers Neutral Milk Hotel
WilcobaseOh this tricky business of bootlegs. You might reasonably expect that a band with as fervent a fanbase as Wilco would have an exceptionally well-documented tape trading network and if you’re talking about the past decade or so, then they absolutely do. But go back to when not everything in existence was instantly documented on the internet and things can get a bit hazier.
For instance, as long as I can recall, a double-disc collection of live and demo covers by the band has circulated as Someone Else’s Songs and included on that is a live recording of Wilco covering the opening song on Neutral Milk Hotel’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea and it’s explicitly noted as coming from the final show at Chicago’s Lounge Ax, dated January 9, 2000. The set list recorded at the usually very thorough WilcoBase makes no mention of this, however, nor does it appear on any of the bootlegs for that show which also circulate. Mind you, WilcoBase only documents the song ever being performed once by any Wilco project and that’s a solo Jeff Tweedy show – obviously incorrect. So what’s the truth of it? I dunno. But that’s most definitely Ken Coomer on trumpet and Edward B Hargrove on the acoustic guitar. And it’s pretty sloppy.
Update: So some sources have clarified that this was technically The Minus 5 covering Neutral Milk Hotel on that evening as support for Wilco, but that band was really Scott McCaughey backed by Wilco and Peter Buck and who knows who else. And Tweedy still took lead vocals on that one. So.
Wilco’s next album The Whole Love is out September 27 and they play Massey Hall on September 16 and 17. Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum begins his return from the wilderness with two sold-out shows at Trinity-St. Paul’s this week, August 12 and 13.