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Solid Tweedy

The Wilco front man digs deep at Mass MOCA, Chicago under ukelear attack, (Dys)Functional Blackouts, and more

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Jeff TWeedy's headlining slot at the Wilco-curated Solid Sound Festival at Mass MOCA this past weekend made a lot of longtime fans happy: joined by Sir Richard Bishop, Scott McCaughey, and members of the Books, Outrageous Cherry, and his current outfit, he worked in songs from better bands like Golden Smog and Uncle Tupelo. In other news, Pat Sansone's hair looks like a big golden butterfly.

Local rock trio Poison Arrows, featuring former Don Caballero bassist Pat Morris and ex-Atombombpocketknife guitarist/vocalist Justin Sinkovich, released their second record, Newfound Resolutions, August 3 on Sinkovich's File 13 Records. The album features guest appearances from a slew of locals, including Brian Case (Disappears, Ponys) and Mia Clarke (Electrelane). They headline the Empty Bottle on Friday, September 3.

Sinkovich hasn't just been busy getting his own music out into the world. He and cofounders Aaron Newton and Scott Bilby are bringing back the music website Epitonic, which they started in 1999. They've established a new home page and a presence on Twitter (twitter.com/epitonic), and are currently fund-raising for a full comeback.

You know that scene in The Jerk where Steve Martin woos Bernadette Peters by playing "Tonight You Belong to Me?" on the ukulele? That shit is all right. It still gets Gossip Wolf misty. Sadly, though, the ukulele is subject to easy abuse. Case in point: since February 2008, the Chicago Ukulele Cabaret has annoyed thousands of bar patrons citywide by steadfastly putting on curated and open-mike events every few months. But now they're doing the world some real good by organizing the Great Midwest Ukefest. The event benefits the local nonprofit Intonation Music Workshop, which specializes in after-school music programs for underserved Chicago kids. The event also features raffles, a barbecue, and eight hours of live music. The plucking starts at 2 PM on Sunday, August 22, at Chief O'Neill's, 3471 N. Elston.

Kinsella Watch: Nate Kinsella, who plays solo under the name Birthmark and drums in Make Believe, got married in Minneapolis two weekends ago. Cousins Tim and Mike Kinsella were in attendance.

For the fifth time since joining the 1900s, singer/tambourinist Jeanine O'Toole has suffered an arm injury—this time a shoulder sprain from a bike accident. Spotted by Gossip Wolf browsing at the video store with her wing in a sling, O'Toole said she had been slamming the tambo with her good hand at the band's recent slew of shows. She also reported that despite her injury she would still be attending the Jonas Brothers concert for which she had tickets the following night.

The Functional Blackouts, infamous local puke-rockers of yore, are reuniting for a one-off October 16 at the Empty Bottle, supporting the Baseball Furies. According to Blackouts drummer (and Reader contributor) Brian Costello, original singer Brian Nervous, now a resident of Austin, Texas, will front the band for the show. This lineup of the band hasn't taken the stage in six years, but Costello says the members actually get along now.

Club scene duo Disco Death Threat (aka Britton Wetherald and Ephraim Cuellar) are best known for their ripping DJ sets and for organizing weekly parties under the KDM moniker at local spots such as EvilOlive and RiNo. They've recently begun a new electro/disco project known as Black Light Saints, featuring former Otter Petter bassist Alex Barandi. They plan to release an as-of-yet untitled EP on October 10, but in the meantime you can peep their party jams at soundcloud.com/blacklightsaints.

You could hide an entire nightclub in Leon Russell's epic beard, yo. That shit is so crazy it has its own team of gardeners, like the Chicago Botanic Garden. Respect! Over the decades Russell has collaborated with a few musicians you might have heard of, including George Harrison, John Lennon, and Bobby Dylan. Now dude is releasing a record with Elton John, The Union, on October 19. If you'd like to see and hear Leon for your own self, hide in his beard for entry. He'll be in Evanston at SPACE on Thursday, August 26, at 8 PM. Elton John will not.   v

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