Chicago has given us many things over the years. Awesome pizza. Billy Corgan. The Cubs, who will always do worse than the Reds. And each winter a chance to look at the weather report and not feel quite as downtrodden about “all the snow” that we get.
Chicago’s greatest gift to the world, however, came in 1994 with the birth of a little band called Wilco.
CityBeat’s amazingly cool music editor said I’m not allowed to refer to Wilco as “Dad Rock” because it makes him feel old. I wonder, though: Is “Adult Alternative” better? I think not. The term “adult” comes with a far worse stigma. I don’t think loving Wilco insists that you have a beer belly or wear a stained polo shirt. It’s not that kind of dad. It’s cooler. Deeper. Decidedly less Republican.
However, I firmly believe that an appreciation for the Jeff Tweedy-led group comes with age. At 17, I would have never understood “Radio Cure” if I’d discovered it upon Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’s initial release in 2002. It took nearly another decade, a couple failed relationships and one seriously long phone call to put those lyrics in perspective and give them a special home in my heart for one entire summer.
Of course, there’s another side to calling Wilco “Dad Rock.” The band is currently on a 20th anniversary tour, marking two decades since the release of its first album, A.M., in 1995. That means they’ve been around long enough for those initial fans to go from nodding and swaying adolescents to father figures. On the bright side, though, at least you can go see Wilco this week without dealing with any of those damn kids.
Thanks a lot, Chicago.
WILCO plays Tuesday at Taft Theatre. Tickets/more info here .