It’s a joy to behold what the musicians in Calexico are capable of — not just the band’s core members (singer Joey Burns and drummer John Convertino) but the whole ensemble of players they’ve brought together to realize their vision. The distinctively Southwestern group played two sold-out shows this past weekend at Lincoln Hall; I was there on Sunday night, May 31.
With a few multi-instrumentalists in the lineup, Calexico feels almost like a miniature orchestra, and the music ran the gamut from exquisite folk ballads to spiky guitar riffs. But more than anything else, Calexico’s songs, both old and new, had jumpy, lively, layered rhythms that made you want to move. The tunes from Calexico’s outstanding new album, Edge of the Sun, sounded just as good as the old ones from records including the classic 2003 album Feast of Wire. And as Calexico often does, it played a wonderful cover of Love’s “Alone Again Or.”
Thanks to my friend Paul Suwan for putting together this set list of what Calexico played on Sunday:
Falling from the Sky / Quattro (World Drifts In) / Cumbia de Donde / Splitter / Woodshed Waltz / Miles from the Sea / Coyoacán / Inspiración / Bullets and Rocks / Tapping on the Line / Woven Birds / unknown instrumental / When the Angels Played / Deep Down / Alone Again Or / Crystal Frontier / FIRST ENCORE: Beneath the City of Dreams / Guero Canelo / SECOND ENCORE: Follow the River
Gaby Moreno, a Guatemalan singer-songwriter, played a beguiling opening set, singing solo as she plucked her acoustic guitar. Later in the night, Moreno — who sings on the new Calexico album — came back onto the stage to add backup vocals during Calexico’s encore.