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Wilco enthusiasts have long salivated over the prospect of new material and while Tweedy’s Sukierae isn’t technically a Wilco album, it has enough commonality to excite fans. Tweedy is the project of Wilco leader, Jeff Tweedy and his son, Spencer Tweedy. The album feels in some ways like a musical release-valve for Jeff who has admitted to having as many as 90 songs written and ready to be recorded. While it might at first seem like a Wilco-but-not-Wilco album, further listens show that this LP does stand on its own merits. Clearly Jeff was influenced and pushed by his 18 year old son, a talented musician in his own right.
Opening for Tweedy was Hospitality, a low-key, indie-pop group from Brooklyn. The trio, consisting of Amber Papini, Brian Betancourt, and Nathan Michel, played a relaxed set with a few upbeat tunes. Their catchy closer “I Miss Your Bones” included some great instrumental portions. I came to the show without having listened to them previously, but found their sound immediately rewarding and I'd be lying if I said I didn't listen to them on Spotify during my commute home. Nathan Michel on drums and Brian Betancourt on bass sounded extremely tight as Amber at vocals and guitar led the group with some terrific singing and fun riffs. My only qualm with the set was the difficulty I had hearing Amber’s lyrics. Whether due to the mix or her singing style, I had some difficulty discerning verses.
After a set change with some interesting roadies (Very exciting facial hair) Wilco took to the stage wearing a denim jacket, jeans and a fedora. While the band is technically just Jeff and his son, the touring band included Jim Elkington of Horse’s Ha and Eleventh Dream Day on guitar, Darin Gray of Dazzling Killmen and Brise-Glace on bass, and Liam Cunningham of Marrow on guitar, keys and vocals. The first half of the set was entirely new material. With the show coming only a few weeks after the release of the band’s album, there was no opportunity for crowd sing-along. Despite not knowing the songs though, the crowd was hooked. The room was silent during the music as all eyes and ears were directed at Jeff and his band. The music was central as Jeff clearly prefers to let his tunes do the talking. Spencer showed talent beyond his years on the drums; confident and calm, his percussion work appeared effortless.
Tweedy @townballroom may have been the best show I've seen all year. Amazing.— Jay (@jayfairb) October 2, 2014
I can't even describe how good that was. Tweedy was amazing tonight. http://t.co/vJcpgb7g8Z— Jon Nale (@jonnale) October 2, 2014
Later in the set, the band left the stage and Jeff Tweedy played some classic Wilco tunes (“I’m the Man Who Loves You,” and I Am Trying to Break Your Heart”). For an encore, the band played a Doug Sahm cover, “Give Back the Key to My Heart” before finishing with the favorite, “California Stars.” The crowd’s reaction said it all as the band left to the sounds of cheering and adoration. Likely some were skeptical about Tweedy’s efforts apart from Wilco, but once again Jeff Tweedy proved his prevalence as a songwriter and front man.
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