City hall's new bffs

I don't have the energy nor the interest to get too worked up over this, but it doesn't seem to make much sense: Madison politicians are lobbying to adopt Wilco as honorary citizens.

Maybe it's like they say, and Madison's just trying not to be out-cooled by Duluth. Maybe they're attempting to become more hip, trying to align themselves with Portland or Austin to lure in more progressive students; but once hip-ness enters government it ceases to be all that hip (I'll tackle gentrification soon enough). And Wilco's an interesting choice. Part of their appeal is their Chicago roots. Sure, their latest cover art was shot in Milwaukee and Jeff Tweedy's thrown out the first pitch in Miller Park, but he's also sung the National Anthem at Wrigley Field and played more benefits and regular shows in Chicago than any other city nationwide. When Conan O'Brien filmed a week of shows in Chicago, he picked Wilco to headline it. Nearly all geographic reference points in their songs are Chicago. Detaching them from Chicago detaches their base; and maybe Wilco's stretched broad enough to encompass America writ large, but that would make them even less qualified for the distinction.

If they'd been looking to establish hip-ness, they could have welcomed Okkervil River, who at least mention Crystal Corner Bar in "Girl in Port," but no dice (maybe they were as underwhelmed by their latest as I was). Or maybe Scott Van Pelt, who repeatedly refers to Madison as the best college town, mentions Wando's bacon night in Badger highlights, spoke at a graduation, but is still no resident to the town. It doesn't matter how important Madison is to you, it matters how important you are to Madison. Or something.

But even so, Wilco seems to be losing their favor with the younger demographic; and while it may be indicative of a hip-er adult presence, it speaks little to the hip-ness of a student body that would embrace a past-their-prime alt-country-gone-adult contempo group. City hall would be much better off fostering the existent-yet-undercover local scene (I'll get to that later, too) instead of importing one it can't support (Wilco would sell out James Madison Park, almost guaranteed). It's city hall trying too hard to fit in. Or maybe, like Pitchfork alluded, it's city hall flexing their muscles to get a personalized autograph from their favorite band (and getting mentioned on Pitchfork—how hip). Or, maybe it's city hall flexing their muscles to increase revenue (what other band exclusively plays the Overture Center?). But unless that's true and there's an actual political agenda at play, there isn't much news to this. Or at least none that interests me.

1 comment:

  1. What's the deal with ESPN analysts namedropping some of the most dreadful bars in town as though they're the undisputed places to be? I've heard Brent Musberger and Steve Lavin rave about the Nitty Gritty like 3 or 4 times.

    And since when do you write for Pop Curmudgeon?