MAB brings Jeff Tweedy to Mandel

By Matt Zakosek

In a little less than two weeks, a crooner will come to Mandel Hall to try to break our hearts.

If you don’t understand that reference, you soon will. Phrases like “American aquarium drinker” and “tongued-tied lightning” will also enter your lexicon, because the Major Activities Board (MAB) announced Monday that Jeff Tweedy is coming to campus.

The prolific rocker and eccentric lyricist will perform in Mandel Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 25. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Tweedy is best known for his work with Wilco, who recorded the 2002 album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Wilco’s 2004 follow-up, A Ghost is Born, divided critics but snagged a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Album.

Their most critically acclaimed album might be 1999’s Summerteeth, which was released by Warner Brothers to mediocre sales. Tweedy has also played with Golden Smog and influential alt-country group Uncle Tupelo, some members of whom went on to form Wilco with Tweedy.

Like the film-buff game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” “Six Degrees of Jeff Tweedy” could be a fun game for music fans. Uncle Tupelo member Jay Farrar formed Son Volt after differences with Tweedy over the band’s musical identity. Tweedy’s other project, Golden Smog, has included members from the Replacements, Soul Asylum, the Jawhawks, Run Westy Run, and the Honeydogs.

Tweedy’s collaborations do not end with his bands. In 1998, Tweedy teamed up with singer-songwriter Billy Bragg to record the albums Mermaid Avenue and Mermaid Avenue No. 2, which contained unreleased lyrics and music by Woody Guthrie.

No stranger to the film world, Tweedy appeared in the 2002 documentary I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, about Wilco’s trials with their former record label, Warner/Reprise, and composed the score to the 2001 drama Chelsea Walls, directed by Ethan Hawke.

The Chicago-based Tweedy has been involved in the city scene lately. Not only did Wilco choose the Vic Theatre to record their latest release, Kicking Television: Live in Chicago, but Tweedy also played a show at the Abbey Pub on January 25 to benefit Gary Schepers, a Chicago-based soundman afflicted with Group A Streptococcus.

The MAB winter show comes at a busy time for Tweedy. According to his website (, Tweedy’s solo tour ends in DeKalb, Illinois at Otto’s Niteclub and Underground on February 20. Meanwhile, Wilco’s spring tour kicks off on March 5 at Memorial Hall in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Advance tickets are $15 for students and $20 for faculty, staff, and lab school students. The day of the show, prices will increase to $20 and $25, respectively. Tickets may be purchased from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Reynolds Club Marketplace beginning Wednesday, February 15. Tickets will also be available on the MAB website for only $10 starting February 15.