Union Chapel, London
Jeff Tweedy cemented his position at the top of the league this week, with another top-notch performance - this time without the help of backing band Wilco and in the serene setting of Islington's Union Chapel. I've been looking forward to this one since missing his 2005 solo show in favour of seeing an ageing Bob Dylan at Brixton. A shocking mistake that I have regretted since, particularly as Dylan has returned several times since.
With just a guitar and his booming voice, the Wilco front man worked his way through a diverse range of classics from Wilco (Jesus Etc, Via Chicago, Kidsmoke), Uncle Tupelo (New Madrid, Acuff-Rose), Loose Fur (Laminated Cat, The Ruling Class) and a good selection of tracks from the Woody Guthrie albums on which Wilco teamed up with Billy Bragg (Remember The Mountain Bed [awesome], California Stars). He even bowed to "some asshole's" request for a Bob Dylan cover.
There was one exception to the solo status, as Tweedy was joined on stage early on by his 'hero' Bill Fay, with the two singing a charming duet of Be Not So Fearful. The more delicate setting placed a real emphasis on the lyrical quality of many of Tweedy's songs, highlighting his real talent as a talented and prolific songwriter, rather than just the front man of a brilliant rock band.
New tracks also made for some of the highlights (One Wing, Impossible Germany), but the star of the show was Tweedy's charming presence and wit - making the choosing of tracks by the audience like an episode of VH1's Storytellers starring Jack Dee. Brilliant.
2nd Jul 2010 - Tumblr5
Brixton Academy, London
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