Review by Ross Marvin
Sure, there’s a certain gimmick to forming a band with your kid. This was true of Shirley Patridge and Keith. It was true of Frank Zappa and Moon Unit. It is true of Jeff and Spencer Tweedy. No coincidence, maybe, that critics of Tweedy and Wilco have consistently labeled the Chicago band as the poster boys of Dad Rock — a mysteriously less cool, grayer shade of hipster rock that comes with a side of perplexing lyrical poetry, experimental bleeps, microbrews and vegan food trucks.
While anyone who has attended the quasi-annual Solid Sound Festival that Wilco hosted from 2010 to 2013 at MASS MoCA (and coming again in June, 2015) sees the truth in my depiction above, fans who scratch a little deeper know how shallow it is to think such a description adequately sums up Jeff Tweedy’s now immense and incontrovertibly impressive songwriting catalog.
Last Saturday night at Northampton’s Calvin Theatre, the band was “Tweedy” in name only. This was a Jeff Tweedy show, one that captured the broad swath of his career from alt-country founder in Uncle Tupelo, to the many stages of Wilco (which go something like Americana, lush-pop, experimental pop, indie supergroup), to his strong new material, in which his 18-year-old son plays the role of musical foil and unquestioning acolyte.