Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Calexico with Iron And Wine

by dan

Calexico have been touring Japan with Iron And Wine. The Tokyo gig was last Saturday in Shibuya, so off I went to Club Quattro, which it turns out is on the fifth floor of a department store. It's like going to a gig in Debenhams. Once you get round that little bit of cognitive dissonance, the venue was pretty good. It reminded me a bit of Whelan's in Dublin, and you won't go far wrong if you're even a tiny bit like Whelan's.
Iron And Wine did their thing first - Sam Bean is the main man with his sister Sarah on hand for harmony singing. Sam is a very hairy man - my first thought was Wow! Alan Moore's picked up a guitar! It was a good folky set, with various members of Calexico wandering on and off to provide backing on some of the songs, and left me thinking maybe I should give the CDs a chance.
This was the first time I'd seen Calexico in about three years. The last time, I'd just gone along out of curiosity, and ended up blown away. This time around, my hopes were a lot higher going into the gig, but any worries that expectancy might prove to be the thief of pleasure were unfounded. Calexico are just one of the best live bands you'll ever see. They are great musicians, can play almost anything - at alternate times during the gig I was reminded of Miles Davis or Black Flag - as well as the country / mariachi hybrid they're known for. The more guitar based songs off the new album generally got a rocking three guitar treatment, a courtesy extended to a scorching version of "Not Even Stevie Nicks", while the older stuff from "Feast Of Wire" and beyond was full of trumpets, stand up bass, and pedal steel. Man, I love the sound of a pedal steel guitar. They play a fine version of usual set closer "The Crystal Frontier", and then Iron And Wine come back on to join them for a few more tunes, including a gorgeously slow and haunting "Wild Horses". It being the last night of the tour, the encore saw them bring them on their legendary-in-Japanese-country-circles promoter, Hiroshi Asada, who sang Gram Parson's "Streets Of Baltimore" with them. Almost three hours of top music, and I was back out on the street by 9.45.When those Japanese tickets say "7pm start", they mean it...

[thanks to Craig for letting me post this here]

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2 Comments:

Blogger skunk said...

great idea for a blog guys, its exactly what i've been looking for while planning my trip to tokyo.

keep up the good work and i'm hoping you guys will be doing some tokyo underground hiphop stuff as well.

2:48 pm, February 12, 2007  
Blogger mrcraige said...

thanks skunk.
hopefully we can include more hip-hop

2:26 am, February 15, 2007  

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