Chicago-based Band Wilco Set To Headline A&O Ball

Matt Spector

By Matt SpectorThe Daily Northwestern

Alternative rock. Folk. Experimental. Everything in between.

The Chicago-based band Wilco is scheduled to perform as the headliner of A&O Productions’ annual A&O Ball, the group’s representatives announced Thursday. New York City indie rockers French Kicks will be the opening act.

The performance, the organization’s signature event, will be held at Patten Gymnasium on May 11. Tickets will cost $10 and will be available at the Norris University Center Box Office starting Wednesday.

Alex White, A&O chairman and a SESP junior, said the organization anticipates the tickets will sell out quickly because the band is well-known and because of the “intimate setting” of the concert.

“Everyone on campus will have the opportunity to see Wilco in a private show on campus,” White said.

A&O Director of Concerts Liz Korutz, a former Daily staffer, said she thinks the concert will draw students with a wide range of tastes in music.

“I think the show’s going to be appealing to many different types of people,” said Korutz, a Medill senior. “This is Chicago, and everybody loves Wilco.”

Wilco plans to release their seventh studio album “Sky Blue Sky” on May 15, four days after the A&O Ball. The band’s frontman Jeff Tweedy gave a solo performance at Northwestern in 2005.

White said the timing of the concert, before Wilco’s CD release, worked out “perfectly.” Wilco will begin a European tour May 19 to coincide with the release of their album.

The concert will be part of a great week on campus for music, White said. School of Music alumnus Andrew Bird will be performing as part of A&O’s Alumni Speaker Series on May 14.

“A student will potentially be able to go to Wilco Friday for $10 in a venue on campus, and go to Pick-Staiger for a concert in an intimate setting (Monday night),” White said.

Korutz said they will be checking WildCARDs at Patten because “all of Chicago is going to want to get into this show.”

White and Korutz said it was a challenge to find an act that was “well-respected artistically” while being “culturally relevant.”

“We try to pick artists with a wide appeal,” Korutz said. “Our goal is to sell out Patten. We also definitely want to maintain the integrity of our programming.”

Korutz said they were lucky because former A&O Productions member Ben Levin, Communication ’03, works for Wilco’s management.

“It’s great to be able to e-mail the band’s management,” she said. “Since we booked them I’ve been e-mailing with Levin.”

Weinberg sophomore Stephen Arnovitz said he is glad to not have to “fight the rest of Chicago” for Wilco tickets.

“Wilco is one of the bands that I’ve always wanted to see in concert,” Arnovitz said. “I heard they have an incredible stage presence and that Jeff Tweedy’s one of the greatest guitarists you can find around.”

Korutz said she has been a fan of Wilco’s music since a friend burned the band’s CD “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” for her in high school.

“It was just a stunning album,” she said. “It turned me on to Wilco and I’ve just been in love with everything they’ve done.”

A&O also announced a date change for the first day of ticket sales for Bird’s “Storytellers-style” performance at Pick-Staiger Hall. The free tickets for Bird’s performance will be also be available on Wednesday at the Norris Box Office.

Reach Matt Spector at [email protected]