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What’s up with Wilco: Spring 2014

Jeff Tweedy on Parks and Recreation (4/10/14).
Jeff Tweedy on Parks and Recreation (4/10/14).

Wilco doesn’t have anything scheduled until early September when they will appear as part of the Lockn’ Festival in Arlington, Virginia (9/4-9/7), but there’s still lots to talk about concerning the great Chicago band.

Recently, Wilco front man Jeff Tweedy put in guest appearances on the popular NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation in two episodes: “Flu Season 2” (aired 4/10/14), and the season finale “Moving Up” (aired 4/24/14).

Tweedy played local musician Scott Tanner, formerly of the fictional band Land Ho!, who was approached by the program’s protagonist councilwoman Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and her assistant Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) to re-unite for the Pawnee-Eagleton Unity Concert.

In his first appearance in “Flu Season 2,” (directed by Nick Offerman who plays Ron Swanson on the show), Tweedy’s Tanner was reluctant: “Listen. It means a lot to me that you guys love the band, and I’m gonna tell you the exact same thing I tell everyone who’s ever asked us to reunite: no.”

However, by show-time in the season ender “Moving Up” (directed by Michael Schur) Tweedy took the stage with his fellow fake band mates and blasted through some feedback-filled rock ‘n roll. I couldn’t identify the songs from the excerpts they showed so if anybody knows please drop me a line.

Also appearing in the hour long finale were the indie rockers The Decemberists, Yo La Tengo (in red sweaters and wigs as the band Bobby Knight Ranger), Letters To Cleo, and the R & B artist Ginuwine, all of whom joined together for the “We Are The World”-style all star sing along of “5,000 Candles In The Wind” to close out the concert.

Watch the extended version of the season finale, featuring live performances.

Earlier in April, Tweedy also appeared, this time as himself, in a sketch on the IFC show Portlandia (“Bahama Knights," aired 4/4/14). The sketch's premise was Tweedy attempting to record a new track in the studio, but the show's stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein as his producers question the authenticity of his music: “Are your family Oakies? Did they experience the Dust Bowl?” Watch the sketch here.

Tweedy will be embarking on a solo tour starting on June 5th at the Masonic Temple in Detroit, Michigan. The summer tour will take him to a bunch of East Coast venues plus festival appearances including Mountain Jam, Ottawa Bluesfest, Newport Folk Festival, and Taste of Chicago. For the complete schedule and ticket information check Wilco’s official website,

Meanwhile, Pat Sansone, Wilco member since 2004, just played a pretty notable gig in my area opening for the Zombies at the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, N.C. on Friday, April 18th. The show was part of a mini-tour with the aging British band, best known for their ‘60s hits “She’s Not There” and “Time of the Season.” The performance was a rare solo spot for Sansone, away from both Wilco and his side project with Wilco bassist John Stirratt, The Autumn Defense, who released their fifth album, aptly titled Fifth, earlier this year on Yep Roc Records.

Speaking of The Autumn Defense, they are going to tour Spain throughout May and they are scheduled to play dates in Newtown, Connecticut (June 6th), Annapolis, North Dakota (June 7th), and in Charleston, ginia on NPR Music's Mountain Stage - Culture Center Theater (June 8th).

The Autumn Defense will also play some festival gigs at Taste of Chicago on July 9th (Tweedy will perform there on July 12th), and the Mile of Music Festival in Appleton, Wisconsin in August. For more info visit the band’s official website:

Wilco guitarist Nels Cline is also touring in May with his outfit, The Nels Cline Singers to promote their fifth album release, Macroscope, releasing this week on Mack Avenue Records. The tour kicks off at (le) Poisson Rouge in New York on May 1st and ends May 9th at the Chapel in San Francisco, CA. For a complete listing of venues and dates plus ticket info visit

Drummer Glenn Kotche will also be busy in May with Chicago engagements such as “The Dinner Party” at City Winery on May 12th, in which Kotche joins the conversation and performs as part of this hour-long celebration of culture, food, and conversation, with The Dinner Party Download from American Public Media; and a performance at The Hideout, in which Kotche performs as part of an all-drummer version of Fred Lonberg-Holm's Lighbox Orchestra. Visit for more event details.

Finally, pianist and keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen doesn't have any appearances listed on his website,, but as things are just starting to shape up for the summer, please stay tuned.

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Jeff Tweedy on Parks and Recreation (4/10/14).
Jeff Tweedy on Parks and Recreation (4/10/14). NBC

Jeff Tweedy on Parks and Recreation (4/10/14).

Chris Pratt as Andy Dwyer meets Wilco's Jeff Tweedy as Pawnee musician Scott Tanner of the ficitional band Land Ho! in the Parks and Recreation episode “Flu Season 2” (aired 4/10/14).

Jeff Tweedy on Parks and Recreation (4/24/14).
Jeff Tweedy on Parks and Recreation (4/24/14). NBC

Jeff Tweedy on Parks and Recreation (4/24/14).

Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and fellow members of the fake Pawnee band, Land Ho! perform at the Pawnee-Eagleton Unity Concert on the Parks and Recreation season finale “Moving Up” (aired 4/24/14).

Jeff Tweedy on Portlandia (4/4/14).
Jeff Tweedy on Portlandia (4/4/14). IFC

Jeff Tweedy on Portlandia (4/4/14).

Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, playing himself attempting to record a new track in the studio on the Portlandia episode “Bahama Knights,” (aired 4/4/14).

Macroscope by The Nels Cline Singers.
Macroscope by The Nels Cline Singers. Mack Avenue

Macroscope by The Nels Cline Singers.

The vibrant album cover of jazz trio The Nels Cline Singers' newest release (their fifth) Macroscope out this week (4/29/14) via Mack Avenue Records.

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