When I interviewed Calexico bandleader Joey
Burns a few weeks ago, ahead of their two shows at the Barby Club in Tel Aviv,
he called the seven-piece band’s performances a “celebration of
That’s probably the best description of the proceedings onstage
Thursday night, when guitarist/ singer Burns was joined by his musical partner
John Covertino on drums and his five-immensely talented, multi-instrumentalist
bandmates for two scintillating hours of magic.
Spurred on by the trumpet
duo of Jacob Valenzeula and Martin Wenk, who sounded like Joshua bringing down
the walls of a hacienda, the wildly eclectic music veered all over the map, but
never strayed from the heart of the matter. Accordions, pedal steel guitars,
maracas, keyboards and Spanish guitars were interchanged at will, with the
musicians appearing as delighted with the results as the packed, enthusiastic
Featuring over 20 songs and two encores, the lineup included a
cross section of the Arizona- based outfit’s prodigious back catalog and a
generous helping from their latest album Algiers.
Whether serving up
syncopated electrified Mexican folk, country-tinged Americana, muted ballads, or
rousing rock &roll - including everything from rousing covers of Love’s
“Alone Again Or,” The Nightcrawlers’ “Little Black Eggs” and an intense snippet
of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” - Calexico lived up to their
reputation as one of the rock’s best currently touring live acts.
is a natural front man, whether urging the band and audience on, reacting with
dance steps and hand claps when the mood hits him, or acting as a good-natured
cheerleader who just happens to sing and play guitar amazingly
Watching the band have a good time - with no rock star poses,
ten-minute guitar solos or aloof attitudes, just quality, engaging music
performed with vigor, passion and intent – was catnip for the audience. And they
reacted with an outpouring of love for the band. Burns, before the encore,
returned the sentiment saying in Hebrew, “We love you.” Four years after their
triumphant debut at the same club, Calexico returned as conquering heroes. And
they did not disappoint.
Calexico Barby Club
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