Albert Hall, Manchester
For people who like music from the other side of the pond (won’t use the a*******a word) there is no doubt that Calexico are up there in terms of popularity yet their tours in this country are often short and appear almost as an afterthought to their main far of Northern Europe. They seem to have a large following in the Low Countries and Germany. So last night was an exciting date in my calendar as the last time I saw them was around 10 years ago in Los Angeles where they were workmanlike. In Manchester it was clear that they meant business from the off with Falling from the Sky and Cumbia de Donde from the new album being early highlights in a set that had high energy. Most Calexico followers love the Mariachi trumpets and they were to the fore in many numbers. However there was light and shade and a highlight was a number with just Joey Burns, John Convertino and bassist Ryan Alfred that Joey Burns said he enjoyed playing – I certainly enjoyed hearing. Setlist watchers would know that on this tour they have played Love will tear us apart on a number of occasions. Conversations before the show agreed that as they were in Manchester they would certainly play it. How wrong were we? Instead we got Bigmouth strikes again which had the locals besides themselves and a cue for some idiot dancing among the excited throng. However the best was saved for last – a spine tingling cover of the song War Machine by Bill fay from his album released this week. A memorable show that will linger long in the memory.
The crowd were largely very good and gave the band a level of energy that made for a great night. However we had the obligatory butters in front of us including a very eccentric lady who appeared to be a retired pole dancer. In the interval she bent over to pick up a drink and put her derriere as close to my face as possible without getting arrested for public indecency.b I just didn’t know where to put myself. It was a little surreal.
It made me think..
Gigs like this are to be treasured. A strange venue but very charming. Also great company from Heather and Mike. I have lost count of the number of nice people I have met through this site. It is a wonder.