Music review: Calexico

What better time than on the day of Donald Trump's inauguration to celebrate Calexico's cross-border identity and their many collaborations with their Latino neighbours to the south of their Arizona base? Their hybrid status is right there in their name, in their rich, atmospheric Tex Mex musical style and in the guests they have chosen for this show, titled Across the Borderline. Plus it got them out of Dodge on a day with which the participating musicians were struggling to be reconciled.

Calexico ****

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow

Following the slowburn subtle flavours of a couple of the band’s own numbers, the barrier-busting fiesta started with the arrival of Mexican singer/guitarist Juan Cirerol who stirred in zydeco, rock’n’roll as well as raw soul to the party hooch.

Even a bout of bronchitis could not stop Breton singer Katell Keineg from joining the ensemble, adapting the bruised, dramatic Olé, Conquistador for the inauguration. Along with singers Gaby Moreno and Pieta Brown, she joined frontman Joey Burns for a haunting harmony rendition of Woody Guthrie’s incisive, emotional Deportee.

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By way of contrast, Mexrissey frontman Carmilo Lara brought the beats, the MC skills and a jester-like presence to proceedings, as well as a determination to get the crowd moving.

Of the more intimate material, an old school country duet with a Tex Mex touch hit the spot though the ensemble were never more impressive than in full widescreen Texicana flow, evoking the parched panoramas of their home by tapping into that Morricone magic with mournful slide guitar and mariachi brass.

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