Alt-rock darlings Wilco to make Amp debut with mix of fan-favorite songs, deep cuts


American alternative rock band Wilco will make their first-ever Chautauqua Institution appearance at 7:30 p.m. tonight in the Amphitheater.

Nels Cline, guitarist for the band, describes Wilco’s music as being “rock’n’roll with distinct elements of country music, folk music and a modicum of wild experimentation.”

Cut Worms will take the stage first with an opening set.

Cline said that Cut Worms pair well with Wilco as a touring bill and said that while the group doesn’t play hard rock and roll, their music has a “wistful, classic sound.”

“They really have the sounds totally dialed in my opinion, but it’s kind of light. It’s like a light-rocking, country-ish, folk kind of rock with really nice vocal arrangements,” he said. “Don’t miss them!” 

Tonight’s show will mark the end of a short run of shows for Wilco, which for Cline, is bittersweet.

“There’s always a sense of occasion; there’s a little happiness that we get to go home, sadness that we have to stop playing,” he said.

Just days ago, Wilco released a six-song EP titled Hot Sun Cool Shroud, topping off a prolific run in their already-extensive discography.

The group released Cousin, their 13th studio album in 2023 and a double length album titled Cruel Country in 2022.

Wilco released their debut album A.M. in 1995 followed by Being There the year after. Soon after, the group released Summerteeth and their most well-known album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. They recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of their 2004 album A Ghost Is Born.

Other notable releases from the group include Sky Blue Sky, Wilco (The Album), The Whole Love, Star Wars, Schmilco and Ode to Joy.

The band also recently hosted their annual music festival Solid Sound, which takes place each year at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, where they played two headlining sets and featured a number of musicians and bands that they enjoy, including some of their own side projects.

While Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy doesn’t draft set lists until the afternoon of every show, Cline said fans can anticipate a mix of fan favorites such as “Jesus, Etc.,” “California Stars” and “Impossible Germany” as well as some newly released material.

“(Tweedy) really tries pretty hard to balance the show with a little bit of everything. There are certain songs that get played pretty much ritually, but only about three or four,” Cline said.

Inspired by their recent performance at Solid Sound Festival of — exclusively made up of deep-cuts — Cline said Chautauquans might expect to hear some lesser-played songs.

“I don’t know if we’re going to return to some of them because we thought after (the Solid Sound Festival performance), ‘Gee, that was fun to play. Why don’t we play that one more often?’,” he said.

Cline thinks that their performance will get louder and will lean more heavily into rock’n’roll as it progresses throughout the night, culminating in the quintessential guitar shredding that the band is known for.

“I would say that we’re going to end rocking out,” Cline said.

Tags : A Ghost Is BornA.M.alt-rockalternative rockBeing ThereCousinCruel CountryCut WormsHot Sun Cool ShroudNels ClineOde to JoyPopular EntertainmentSchmilcoSky Blue SkyStar WarsSummerteethThe Whole LoveWilcoWilco (The Album)Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

The author Julia Weber

Julia Weber is a rising junior in Ohio University’s Honors Tutorial College where she is majoring in journalism and minoring in art history. Originally from Athens, Ohio, this is her first summer in Chautauqua and she is thrilled to cover the theater and dance performances. She serves as the features editor for Ohio University’s All-Campus Radio Network, a student-run radio station and media hub, and she is a former intern for Pittsburgh Magazine. Outside of her professional life, Julia has a newly adopted cat, Griffin, and she is an avid fan of live music and a dedicated ceramicist.