Gig review: Calexico

Calexico were a bit up and down ' with both sides of their border-hopping playing a part. Picture: Contributed
Calexico were a bit up and down ' with both sides of their border-hopping playing a part. Picture: Contributed
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AS THEIR composite name suggests, Calexico are all about blurring boundaries.

Calexico

Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow

***

But the handful of pleasant, palatable poppy Americana songs from forthcoming album Edge Of The Sun with which they opened their set were more sleepily attuned to the peaceful, easy feeling of the California half of their name, while nice guy frontman Joey Burns only bolstered the relative blandness with his flannel shirt presence.

Although these new songs were written and recorded in Mexico City, the Latin spirit which has infused and enlivened Calexico’s music for the past 20 years had to be located elsewhere.

When it was, it felt like a switch had been tripped and the palette changed from burnt ochre to saturated technicolour with the injection of a soulful, yearning blast of brass, luscious resonating lap steel, the transporting lilt of Tex-Mex accordion and the occasional Spanish language lick.

The next time the band brought the mood back down, it was achieved with a touch more dynamism on a noble widescreen Americana torch song and the bare bass/lap steel-backed ballad Fortune Teller.

The close-to-capacity crowd loved it all but were simply mad for the mariachi horns deployed on a number of originals and a faithful cover of Love’s Alone Again Or – though as the energy levels surged again they remained curiously static, even when confronted with the irresistible choppy rhythmic flourish of the Latin piano breaks. Perhaps they were dancing inside.

Seen on 01.02.15