Jeff Tweedy and Son Bring “Dad Rock” to the Meyerhoff
When one thinks of father-son duos, there are certain pairs which always come to mind: Bart and Homer Simpson, Vito and Michael Corleone, Abraham and Isaac, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. Comedic or criminal, galactic or biblical, all of them are notoriously troubled relationships. It was therefore a refreshing change of pace, at last night’s Jeff Tweedy concert, to see a father and son who not only get along, but completely rock together. Jeff Tweedy and his 18 year old son, Spencer, captivated listeners at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall with songs from their latest project, an album titled Sukierae scheduled to drop September 16th. The album, which will feature the Wilco singer-songwriter’s collaboration with his drumming progeny, was actually intended to be a solo work, but Tweedy was so impressed with his son’s playing that he changed his plans to include him.
Tweedy has been criticized recently for playing “dad rock,” and though this latest project makes the accusation literal, the music itself was pretty good (though it should be noted that a large portion of the audience members were of the middle-aged variety). Their slow opening song, “Down from Above,” was probably the most stereotypically dad rock-ish, but it was still captivating in its soft mournfulness. Luckily, Tweedy later picked up the pace with a funky ballad called “World Away” and the upbeat “Summer Noon.” The audience was so enthralled they even participated in chanting back the moody intro and outro chorus to “Slow Love,” despite the fact that it was a new song for all of them. Spencer Tweedy’s lanky adolescent arms may have given doubt to his drum playing abilities, but the kid was pretty impressive with his sticks. Maybe not Glenn Kotche of Wilco impressive, but then he’s got years to practice. Certainly the audience didn’t seem to mind the slight quality sacrifice from the generational pairing, as evidenced by their enthusiastic reaction when Tweedy introduced Spencer. His voice full of paternal pride, he announced halfway through the show,“That’s my boy on the drums,” and the audience erupted into applause and cheers. Still, Jeff and Spencer Tweedy proved last night that they are more than just a family-oriented, Hallmark-y, gimmick: they’re also two talented artists who make great music together.