CALEXICO + SACRI CUORI
Live at the Rocca Malestestiana, Cesena, Italy 18th August 2015
“How do you say ‘oomph’ in Italian?” asks Joey Burns; as in ‘You need to give it more oomph’!
Fellow Calexico-in-chief and drummer, John Convertino shrugs his shoulders in reply.
Burns poses the question because he wants the crowd to show more grit, spunk, blood, fire, energy, passion; AND he wants them to raise the volume level for the big ‘whoooaaaa’ at the beginning of their supercharged rendition of Minutemen’s Corona.
With this prompt, he succeeds although, it’s fair to say, the overall level of enthusiasm ebbs and flows during the course of this 90 minute open air concert.
An obstacle to more universal acclaim lies in the fact that much of the newer material lacks the drama (oomph?) of Calexico’s earlier, more familiar songs. With notable exceptions, World Undone for example, these are less spacious or ambient in feel than the kind of widescreen post-Giant Sand tunes that distinguished an album such as The Black Light (1998). Continue reading
THE GUARD directed by John Michael McDonagh (Ireland, 2011)
This black comedy came to my attention by virtue of the fact that the original soundtrack is by Calexico. In the event, this is not one of its major selling points. The music of Joey Burns and John Convertino is more suited to a spaghetti western than a police caper set in Ireland.
The story is essentially a vehicle for Brendan Gleeson as Gerry Boyle a nihilistic sergeant of the Garda (gaelic for ‘cop’) . He has the same droll, cynical manner as he had as the reluctant assassin he played for the film In Bruges, which was , not coincidentally, written and directed by the director’s brother, Martin McDonagh.
Boyle is no longer surprised by how stupid, cruel and corruptible human beings can be. He maintains his own unorthodox code of ethics which means that he sees nothing wrong with tampering with crime scenes, drinking on duty or hiring a couple of hookers on his day off. Continue reading
I hate critics who, when rating an artist’s discography, choose an obscure release as their favourite. Most of the time, the smug subtext is ‘I’ve heard this album and you probably haven’t but it’s the best thing they ever did’.
One of the best aspects of the download culture is that these pseudo-hipsters can quickly be exposed if/when they’re talking bollocks.
I write to preface my assertion that Aerocalexico is Calexico’s finest album.
This CD was originally limited to 2000 copies and available only at shows or via the Calexico website. This was in the year 2001, back in the day when ‘limited edition’ meant more than it does now. Nowadays, of course, there’s an unlimited supply of just about anything from your friendly neighborhood P2P file sharing website.
I bought this CD at a show the band from Tucson, Arizona played at the Vidia Club in Cesena, Italy and giving it a spin again now it struck what a truly great album it is. Continue reading
Richard Buckner’s one and only date in Italy (amazingly, his first ever concert in the country) is at the relatively modest Bronson Club in Ravenna.
He is backed by Sacri Cuori, a three-piece band from Emilia-Romagna – the location of this group explains the choice of venue. The band’s leader – guitarist, Antonio Gramentieri – has been active in the region for a number of years, mainly at nearby Faenza with promoters Strade Blu. He has helped bring some class acts to the music starved region, mostly within the folk/alt.country genres – names such as Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Howe Gelb, Devendra Banhart, Antony & The Johnsons, Steve Earle.
Sacri Cuori’s half hour support slot shows that they have picked up some pointers from such artists – their desert twang instrumentals would be well suited to a dusty American road movie. It’s a style that fits in well with Buckner whose past collaborations include a couple of albums with Giant Sand /Calexico’s Joey Burns and John Convertino.
Despite an unbroken run of superb albums from his 1994 debut Bloomed to this year’s Our Blood, Buckner still has cult status (i.e. too few fans). As a result there were only about 100 punters a Ravenna making for zero atmosphere.
Buckner and band seem unfazed by this and blaze through a set list which includes the first seven tracks from Our Blood played in sequence interspersed with other selections from his impressive back catalogue. Continue reading
I have has a Last.Fm account since 12th November 2004 and been a subscriber since April 2006.
At one time I never used the ‘Loved tracks’ feature but recently I’ve started clicking more regularly.
The recent selection shows Bob Dylan is still a dominant force with one original and two covers. I’ve also been listening a lot to Jeff Buckley having belatedly bought the legacy edition of Grace.
The Calexico and Charalambides tracks are long standing favourites and I don’t know why it has taken me so long to officially love them.
This is the list with links to Last.Fm track pages.
I Hate The Beach – Psychedelic Horseshit
The Cause Of Labour Is The Hope Of The World – Jóhann Jóhannsson
Lilac Wine – Jeff Buckley
Mama, You Been On My Mind – Jeff Buckley
North of Me (At Midday) – Fabio Orsi
Crystal Frontier – Calexico
Masters Of War – Bob Dylan
Dormant Love – Charalambides
Shelter From The Storm – Steve Adey
5 A.M.(tears below the freezing point) – Shugo Tokumaru
[p.s. If you use Last.Fm and like this blog, join the Animal My Soul group to show YOUR love].