For its Take Away Shows video series, the French website La Blogothèque films bands playing unamplified, unedited songs in public, using no special lighting or anything else that could detract from the performances’ naturalistic qualities. And in the latest edition, they’ve brought in Wilco to play warm, shambling versions of “If I Ever Was A Child” and “North American Kids,” two songs from their new album Schmilco. Wilco filmed their performances in a corner of Museum Speelklok, a museum in the Dutch city of Utrecht where you can see a collection of instruments that play automatically. (You can see one such ancient music box at the beginning of the “North American Kids” performance.) Wilco were in town to perform at Le Guess Who? Festival, and it’s striking how festival-ready even their most tender acoustic songs sound. They’d sound like that even if they were buskers, and honestly, I’d take these versions over the ones on the record. Watch the two performances below.
Schmilco is out now on Anti-/dBpm/.