Gig review: Tweedy, Glasgow

Jeff Tweedy and his drummer son, Spencer
Jeff Tweedy and his drummer son, Spencer
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HAVING recorded since his mid-teens under various alternative country guises including Golden Smog, Uncle Tupelo and most famously Wilco, Illinois native Jeff Tweedy is passing the torch to the next generation with his latest work. Contrary to how it might appear, Tweedy isn’t a solo project – the other half of the arrangement is his 18-year-old drummer son Spencer, and Tweedy Sr has described their 2014 debut album, Sukierae, as a “solo album played by two people”.

Tweedy - Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

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Tweedy Jr was an integral part of the live set-up at this Celtic Connections performance, appearing in the extended opening segment and in the more electric finale, with his father commanding the stage on his own for a lengthy acoustic interlude during which he revisited a number of Wilco songs including favourites One Wing and Spiders (Kidsmoke).

This part of the set was the strangest, an intimate experience in surroundings which were anything but, with Tweedy’s minimal guitar strum a rather one-note backing to his gravelly vocals. “I dreamed about killing you again last night and it felt alright to me,” he growled on Via Chicago – an emotional counterpoint to the urgent and lovely I’m the Man Who Loves You.

“Thank you for being such a respectful audience, I’m glad no-one got hurt tonight,” he joked before the set’s finale – a somewhat tongue-in-cheek comment, given the muted but attentive response of the audience. Yet these final few songs crackled brightly, from the dismissive rocker Please Don’t Let Me Be So Understood to his recent country-soul composition for Mavis Staples, Only the Lord Knows and a resonant cover of Neil Young’s The Losing End (When You’re On).

Seen on 29.01.15