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(Credit: Japanese Breakfast)

Music

Watch Jeff Tweedy join Japanese Breakfast on stage

During their prominent slot at the Pitchfork Festival this past Saturday, Japanese Breakfast welcomed Wilco singer Jeff Tweedy to the stage for their performance of ‘Kokomo, IN’, one of the standout tracks from the band’s most recent LP, Jubilee. The band also paid direct tribute to Tweedy by launching into the classic Wilco track ‘Jesus, Etc’.

“Jeff Tweedy is my favourite songwriter of all time and it’s such an honour,” band leader Michelle Zauner told the crowd before launching into ‘Jesus, Etc’. “Thank you so much for playing with us.” Tweedy returns the compliment, calling the occasion “so beautiful.” 

This team-up isn’t without president – Tweedy had previously covered ‘Kokomo, IN’ from home as a solo acoustic track back in the summer of 2021. As a response to Tweedy sharing the cover on social media, Zauner took to her own social media accounts to share the video and included a heartfelt message citing Tweedy’s influence on her work.

“Words can’t begin to express how mind-blowing it is to discover this vid of Jeff Tweedy covering ‘Kokomo, IN,’” Zauner wrote back when the video was originally released. “Wilco has been such a huge influence on my music for so many years. The arrangement of ‘Jesus, Etc’ was the elegant perfection we strived for when we were recording Kokomo.”

That mutual appreciation society clearly didn’t stop at trading compliments since Zauner hopped on stage with Wilco at the Solid Sound Festival earlier this year to perform ‘Jesus, Etc’ Now that Japanese Breakfast were on Tweedy’s home turf of Chicago, it only makes sense to have returned the favour. It also might not have been planned, or at least parts of it might not have been planned, considering how Zauner doesn’t introduce Tweedy before launching into ‘Kokomo, IN’ and seems genuinely surprised to see him singing with her. 

Like the Pitchfork Festival itself, Tweedy is a Chicago institution. He’s got an advantage of a couple of years, considering how Tweedy had already established himself as an indie rock god through his work with Uncle Tupelo and Wilco by the time that Pitchfork Fest was officially inaugurated back in 2006. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone more beloved in the Windy City indie scene, so when Zauner cedes the second verse of ‘Kokomo, IN’ to him, it comes with a real sense of deference. 

Check out Tweedy’s appearance around the 30-minute mark of Japanese Breakfast’s performance down below.