Alberto hits his brother on the back of the head…

ImageTwo gigs in a week? Sheesh! Slow down, old man….

Well, we hit the highway to Bristol, not once but twice this week (a school week, as well…), latterly to see Richard Hawley at Colston Hall (more later…), but the Monday belonged to the unstoppable Calexico…

Saw Calexico a few years ago at my first Green Man, and I remember being staggered at just how good they were live, so I’ve been really looking forward to this month’s Academy gig, the tickets have been pinned to our board for a good while now…

We caught the whole of the support band’s set, but (not for the first time) I’m afraid I didn’t really give them the attention they deserved, chatting boorishly throughout. If I’d twigged it was California’s the Dodos at the time I’d have done more to concentrate, but that’s one that got away somewhat.

On the dot of 9:30, though, Burns, Convertino and workmates marched briskly onto the stage and set to work, looking full of zest and confidence. And why wouldn’t they? They’re clearly at the top of their craft and from the evidence of Monday in a fine streak of form.

Burns led the evening, with the occasional foray to the front from Jacob Valenzuela and Martin Wenk. We really enjoyed Valenzuela’s contributions, the best of which was a busy, soulful version of Inspiracion. Both his and Wenk’s brass injections were terrific too, stepping up the intensity of each song whenever they intervened.

A number of people had been raving about Convertino’s drumming before the start (somehow I’d missed him previously) and I have to say I was indeed impressed with his economical but spellbinding style. I’m not a great technician of rhythm sections but I could see that he dominated his areas of each song with a clipped, reserved efficiency that drew you in, in spite of all the brassy, extravagance around him. He was very exciting.

The set included a lot of the new Algiers album (a record that had made no impression on me beforehand, but which I’ll be revisiting now…) with a good smattering of selections from Carried to Dust and Garden Ruin amongst others and the obligatory Alone Again Or. A generous encore meant the set stretched out to an open-handed hour and a half in total. A fabulous way to spend an evening…

El Picador

Alone Again Or

Inspiracion

Roka (Danza de la Muerte)

Across the Wire

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