Friday, November 9, 2007

Fridays with John: On music and art (and Wilco)

Those who know me--and now those who don't--know that my favorite band is probably Wilco. Thankfully Liz largely feels the same way, and this has allowed me to see some of my favorite concerts with her. If I take care of tickets and plan travel (more than usual I suppose), she'll usually happily come along. Most recently this brought us only a few miles away to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, but a few years ago we built a week's vacation around 2 of their shows, one at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and the other at Red Rocks.

Many bands sell posters at their concerts, but I am particularly drawn to the ones Wilco sells at their shows. They are all produced in limited quantities (~300) and designed by a variety of independent designers and design studios. They usually sell from $20-30 and when I've bought them, I feel that I am purchasing art and not an overproduced commodity that would have sold for the same price. Wilco's tempered level of success may lend to this. Their shows almost always sell out, but their audiences (and venue capacities) number in the low thousands and sometimes high hundreds. Numbers that make selling a limited edition product sensible--from a business and logistics perspective. I get why U2, the Rolling Stones, and Bruce Springsteen don't do this (at least today), but it's also why people aren't clamoring for them with the same passion.
Common theme's for Wilco's posters have included animals (birds, fish), Industry (appliances, factories, architecture, old bathtubs), and nature (plants, trees, flowers). Sometimes their combination makes for a forced or even tired juxtaposition, but when it's gotten right, I think they're powerful images that document much more than 1 concert on 1 night.
You can see much more of what I'm talking about here at Wilco's own shop and here at Expresso Beans, a music posters community. Hope you like what you see. Have a great weekend.


Kelly said...

I'm a huge fan of Wilco and love that last poster.
I have yet to see them live, but I will make it happen eventually. :)

Anonymous said...

I love those posters!

Liz Libré said...

kelly - Wilco is A-mazing in concert. I definitely recommend seeing them if they come to town.
chelsea - Do you listen to them?

Anonymous said...

I just bought the top poster (with the fish and the bathtub) for my brother-in-law for a Christmas gift! Thanks for the suggestion--he will love it!

Liz Libré said...

Oh good! John will be happy to hear this. He thinks his voice on here is not working. I like it though. And as for the posters, I wanted to buy the floral one for John (and me) but he found it when he was looking around for this post! rats!