“I’ve always had this idea for a Monday night show where everyone brings in tequila,” Calexico’s Joey Burns told the crowd at Hollywood’s Music Box. While it was indeed a Monday night, there was more Bluetooth in the room than blue agave. But thanks to Calexico’s tunes, there was certainly no shortage of anything from south of the border.
Like a crossroads between Wilco-age indie rock and mariachi horns, Calexico’s music offers plenty of shouting words en espanol, smooth acoustic jams, and low-tone singing. There’s also never a shortage of instruments onstage, and throughout their set last night, Calexico utilized everything from a trumpet to a melodica, to a percussive egg. The result, especially on “Two Silver Trees” and “The News About William,” both from Carried to Dust, was a thick and rich sound that’s oddly quiet for its complexity.
Calexico is passionate about border issues and immigration, and despite its complicated topic, “Across the Wire,” a track about “barbed wire, definitions, when no one wants to come together,” explained Burns, was one of the more festive songs of the evening. It’s in moments like this where everything does come together — Mexican soul, American grit, bits of politics and policy. Smooth and spicy like good tequila.
Check out pictures from last night on page 2.