Thursday at Jazz Fest

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Wilco performs on the Acura Stage at Jazz Fest.
  • Wilco performs on the Acura Stage at Jazz Fest.

Wilco brought an arsenal of instruments to its Acura set: 6-strings, 12-strings, acoustic, electric, lap slide, double guitars, multiple keyboards, pedals, effects, chimes, maracas and of course, the cowbell. Just like the band's last performance at Jazz Fest, a member of Wilco's tech crew — wearing tight jeans and a porn ’stache — played cowbell during "Hoodoo Voodoo" off of Mermaid Avenue. It was the pre-encore conclusion to a great set that featured most of the songs off Yankee Hotel Foxtrot as well as songs from Being There. Jeff Tweedy kept his guitar tech busy, changing guitars with every song, and he occasionally stopped to lob wise cracks at the large crowd. He introduced "You Never Know" by telling the crowd that only one band member wanted to play it, drummer Glenn Kotche, but the audience seemed to enjoy it as much as every other song the band played. The band capably reproduces many of its studio-friendly indulgences, like a brush of chimes here and there, but when it gets into fuzzier, harder-edged jamming, it's a great live rock band.

The locals day at the Fair Grounds welcomes many area school kids and offers short lines for just about everything. Among the pleasant surprises of the day was Eagle and Hawk, a native North American band from Canada, which plays rock and works chanting into the lyrics and background vocals. Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers turned in a typically highly energetic set on the Fais Do-Do Stage. It's not a genre known for extremely long solos, but Dopsie and his rub-board player traded extended volleys, and it might be worth checking Jazz Fest's record book on the longest rub-board solo ever performed after todays efforts.

Also on the Acura Stage, Lucinda Williams worked her way through a mellow and jangly set, playing several songs off of Car Wheels on a Gravel Road ("Drunken Angel," "Joy") as well as "Change the Locks" and "Righteously," It seemed like a set full of songs about the harder parts of relationships, but she also hit more celebratory notes in a boisterous version of "Honey Bee."

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