vicar street, chris wasser

Spencer Tweedy's finger is bleeding. That's what happens when you get carried away with the drumming. The other Tweedy (Jeff) looks concerned. "Want me to kiss it better?" he asks. Cue laughter.

Now would be a good time, they agree, to remind everyone that young Spencer (19) is actually Jeff's son. That's right - the man best-known for founding and fronting the critically-adored American rock band Wilco is now on tour with his boy. That's pretty freakin' cool, right?

The two recently released a 20-song record entitled Sukierae (the name is a reference to Jeff's wife and Spencer's mother, Sue, who was diagnosed with cancer while the pair worked on the album). So, this is very much a family affair. Tonight, the Tweedys expand upon their shiny new catalogue with a little help from some talented musician friends, presenting an elegant, waltz-heavy set that…actually, yeah, there are quite a few waltzes involved.

"I don't know if 'waltz wave' is hot over here yet," laughs Jeff (47). His son told him to use the term "hashtag waltz wave" (see, the Illinois native can be down with the kids when he wants to be). Both of 'em are jet-lagged, says Jeff - and a tad unsettled from having witnessed a rather peculiar street performance on Grafton Street earlier in the day (we'll tell you about it another time). Yep, Jeff Tweedy - the thinking man's rock star - has a smashing sense of humour. And the songs are terrific.


The sublime Nobody Dies Anymore eases us in with some gentle, country-tinged acoustic rock. The heavier World Away challenges Spencer some more (he's a fine player, that young fella), while a cover of the late Diane Izzo's Love Like a Wire sounds positively gorgeous, Jeff's stringy vocal holding up, even when tested by some very high notes.

It's a low-key offering; a pristine display of rich, multi-layered fretwork and effortless showmanship, Jeff holding the fort all by himself in the second act so as to give his audience a one-man Wilco show while the band takes a rest. Well, he has got the stamina. "I'm like the Sting of performing," he jests.

Jeff plays guitar, harmonica - he even whistles, sweeping through the lovely Hummingbird, fan favourite I Am Trying to Break Your Heart and Golden Smog oldie, Please Tell My Brother. A delightful evening of tunes, courtesy of an outstanding front man, his son and some very cool mates. HHHHI