Calexico: CultureHUB Review

Calexico: CultureHUB Review

Limelight, 02 May ’15

When the blasts of the twin trumpets rifled through my body on the opening number, I thought to myself ¨Hmmm – this could be a good show¨.  And so it was.   I had never listened to Calexico until about four months ago which is surprising since they have been making waves since 1996 and have nine albums.  They also did the soundtrack to the 2011 film ¨The Guard¨ which I have only just recently seen and liked.

On hearing them the first time, I immediately was attracted to their Latin rhythms and Mariachi brass,  and with a bit of lap steel mixed up with an Indie sound and I recognised something good here.

Their first ever show in Belfast at the Limelight featured a seven piece band but it might as well have been more as four of the band members were multi-instrumentalists.  There was an ebb and flow to the show that set it apart from your average concert.  The pulse was erratic, sometimes making you want to pull out the de-fibber, then wanting to hide your eyes and ears from a chaotic storm of lights and sounds.  This push and pull, or I would even call it a bait and switch, created a nice tension and kept the audience guessing at what was coming next,  and every time they slid into those Latin grooves the crowd responded. I kept wanting them to stay there as I could see the crowd loosening up to the rhythms and the horns. Indeed, as the show coursed to its ending, they were hitting the groove well and the place was bouncing.

It was a well-conceived and well delivered show, and they certainly won a number of fans.  The Limelight was temporarily transported to their native Arizona desert, coloured with Mexican culture.  It was a harsh awakening to step outside the Limelight after the show into a sleeting Belfast rain, but not so harsh that I didn´t carry the buzz from the music for a good while afterward.

Zach Schmidt




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