Live Review: Tweedy, Those Pretty Wrongs

23 March 2016 | 10:38 am | Ross Clelland

"Just enjoy a band that seems to be having a helluva good time, with a bit of father-son bonding."

Even allowing for the name on the door, Wilco enthusiasts maybe weren't quite sure what they'd get from the band leader and son operating under their own brand. So maybe it comes back to the craft of the songs, and that easy nonchalance Jeff Tweedy has obviously worked so hard at.

The draw in Those Pretty Wrongs is easier to identify. Jody Stephens is one of the last of legendary power-pop band Big Star left standing. He and guitarist Luther Russell now deliver slightly country-ish acoustic tunes with harmonies that occasionally get a bit close to Horse With No Name territory. Lucky Guy and Fool Of Myself come with rambling introductions, which disappointingly left the chattering classes mostly still chattering.

The band called Tweedy wander on. The Tweedy called Jeff in typical big hat and comfortable denim. Tweedy Jr, Spencer, at the drum kit. He's got some of dad's relaxed style, spooling out rhythms like he's practising in the garage. The rest of the band is a mix of fearsomely talented younger players, and longterm Tweedy the elder's buddy, bassist Darin Grey.

Songs from the Sukierae album centre the first stanza. Wait For Love, World Away and "We're playing 'the hit' early…" Low Key come with occasional Wilco-esque guitar jamming over Spencer's almost Krautrock patterns, while Sima Cunningham's harmonisation add a necessary lighter touch among the all the "dude love".

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The band then exit for Jeff to have a solo ramble through the Wilco catalogue and some sidetracks. You can't go wrong with an opening one-two of Via Chicago into I Am Trying To Break Your Heart. He then grab-bags further into his own past with Uncle Tupelo's New Madrid, the hushed audience participation of Jesus, Etc. and through the rather more raucous I'm The Man Who Loves You and Shot In The Arm.

It's then back into ensemble pieces like the written-for-Mavis Staples Only The Lord Knows, and an enthusiastic run at Tupelo's Give Me Back The Key To My Heart. Stephens and Russell are then drafted in for a perfectly sloppy community singalong of California Stars, before what's apparently becoming a tradition of Bowie covers — tonight, the cod-melodrama of Five Years and "Because we're still not ready to let him go just yet…" bonus Queen Bitch.

Maybe you shouldn't analyse it. Just enjoy a band that seems to be having a helluva good time, with a bit of father-son bonding.