Calexico has been making their brand of Latin American-inflected indie rock for 20 years now. The Tuscon, AZ-based group, consisting of core the duo of Joey Burns and John Convertino along with a rotating cast of contributors, released their eighth studio album, Edge of the Sun, earlier this year. On Friday last week they came to the 9:30 Club, filling the stage as a seven-piece band.
As a songwriter, Burns is an expert at evoking the sense of another time and place, whether it be the otherworldly desertscapes of “Miles From the Sea” or the street party atmosphere of “Cumbia de Donde” and “Guero Canelo.” And so for an hour and a half, the audience was transported, from the deserts of Arizona to the streets of Mexico and everywhere in between. On “Esparanza,” one of the bonus tracks from the deluxe edition of the new album, Burns ceded the vocals to trumpet-player Jacob Valenzuea, and on several other songs including “Moon Never Rises” and “Beneath the City of Dreams” he was joined by Guatemalan-born singer Gaby Moreno (who also served as the opening act for the show).
Half of the set (ten of the twenty songs) was drawn from the new album, while the rest consisted of three songs from their last album, Algiers (“Splitter,” “Fortune Teller,” and “Puerto”), four songs from 2003’s Feast of Wire (including “Sunken Waltz” and “Black Heart”), and one song (“Roka”) from 2006’s Garden Ruin. The band rounded out the set with a cover of Love’s “Alone Again Or” (which they had previously covered for 2004’s Convict Pool EP), and one of Moreno’s songs, “Fronteras” which she performed backed by the full band.
All photos by Matt Condon. Click to embiggen.