Calexico Mod Club, Toronto ON, June 12
Published Jun 13, 2013Over the course of two hours, Arizonian rockers Calexico skilfully brought their signature musical blend, equal parts Americana and mariachi, to the Mod Club. The outfit, anchored by singer/guitarist Joey Burns, bassist Ryan Alfred, and drummer John Convertino, were accentuated by a quartet of musicians who rotated through several instruments over the course of the night, including trumpets, lap steel guitar, keyboard and accordion. This proved integral to Calexico's success; the music was strong and intricate, and the mariachi-influenced instrumentation added a fun punch to nearly every song during the 21-song set, including a five-song encore. The band had clearly mastered pacing over their 17 years of activity, balancing joyous up-tempo romps with passionate flamenco rock, including standout "Crystal Frontier." Another highlight was "Slowness," featuring a duet between Burns and special guest Miranda Mulholland of Belle Starr. The band were tight and handled transitions with ease, and the musical arrangements were well crafted and engaging, with the trumpets never failing to elicit peals of joy from the audience. Calexico's propensity for genre blending ensured that no tune or riff ever got stale, and the band's energy never wavered despite being consistently high, ultimately resulting in an excellent performance.