Calexico are one of those rare groups who are perhaps more famous for the work they’ve done with other artists than on the strength of their own work. They released an album with Iron and Wine, they featured prominately on the soundtrack to the Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There and they’ve contributed music to several compilations.
This is unsuprising, since they’re one of the most musically talented and interesting bands in the country. They effortlessly blend Tejano, Country, and Rock music into an energetic and compelling mix that could only come from the American Southwest.
Here they are in 2006
performing their song doing a cover of Love’s song “Alone Again Or”:
I saw these guys open for Death Cab for Cutie a few weeks ago. Before that they were in the large group of artists that I’d “heard of but never heard”.
Oh man, I was blown away. Charismatic stage presence combined with catchy, intelligent pop-rock? Score!
Here’s their set from this year’s Noise Pop festival in San Francisco, California.
Speaking of which, how awesome is it that Noise Pop put a bunch of full sets from the 2009 festival up on YouTube? I submit that it is crazy awesome. Check the sets out at the Noise Pop YouTube channel and drop a comment letting them know how awesome they are.
Ra Ra Riot will be playing the Yeti Stage at 6:30 PM on Saturday, May 23rd.
Well, I’m getting these previews started later than I wanted to this year, but better late than never, I suppose.
Bondy’s folk has the sort of dark, Gothic feel to it that I’ve been addicted to ever since I heard Iron & Wine’s Shepherd’s Dog album. He shares this niche of “American Gothic Folks” (for lack of a better arbitrary label) with artists like Josh Ritter and the aforementioned Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam.
Here’s Bondy playing the old folk tune “John the Revelator” at the Colony Cafe in Woodstock in June of last year:
A. A. Bondy will be playing the Yeti Stage at 1:05 PM on Saturday, May 23rd.
Jarvis Cocker’s new album, Further Complications comes out in a few days. While you’re anxiously awaiting that, you can tide yourself over with this video of him performing the single from the album, “Angela”, live in Paris:
A very long Monday, but a good one. Here’s a bit of Monday Music catharsis for anyone whose day was less-than-spectacular. This is “Weight of the World” by Tarkio and even if the lyrics don’t put a smile on your face, the crazy-catchy guitar line is bound to do the job.
First, let me say that, while it’s sad that the old Blvd building has been torn down (they tore it down to put up a parking lot, cue the “oooooh bop bop bop bop”s), I’m quite pleased with the new Blvd. First of all, it’s in the old B-Side. Which, while not as awesome as having the old B-Side back, means that a great venue building is now back in the hands of people who know how to run and manage rock shows.
It’s got great acoustics, and a nice stage set up, with a surprisingly sizeable pit/dance floor area. The stage is a little on the low side and doesn’t provide very easy access for the band. (The only ways to access are from the back alley or climbing up over the monitors from the floor.) All in all, though, a surprisingly awesome bar venue.
I got there about a half hour after the show was supposed to start, so of course I had time to wade through the crowd and grab a beer before the first act even took the stage. The opener was a fairly talented local blues artist whose name I didn’t catch. He had a pretty good slide guitar touch and passible picking skills. His music sometimes wrote checks his voice couldn’t cash, however, and so tunes that were meant to be soulful sometimes wound up as off key and warbly.
Unfortunately he also brought a couple of truefans who spent his whole set being loud, foul-mouthed, obnoxious dickheads.
After his set, there was about a half hour lapse before the Red Elvises took the stage. During soundcheck they seemed a bit perturbed by the size of the venue and seemed to have a few communication issues with the sound guy. They must have gotten them sorted out, however, since the mixing and acoustics were fantastic right from the off.
Which is a good thing, because it actually managed to do justice to some really impressive musicianship from the band. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve seen that many truly gifted musicians on one stage. The two-man horn section wailed. The keyboardist played her synth like it was a lover. Both guitarists/vocalists were impressive in both their roles. (The second guitarist was an especially nice surprise. I knew what to expect from frontman Igor Yuzov, but the tour guitarist not only shredded, but sang lead on a few tunes with a dusky, agile blues voice that totally blew me away.)
And then there was the drummer and the bassist. Those two dudes seriously must have been created in a lab somewhere. They were technically flawless and musically brilliant. Their solos were easily among the best I’ve ever seen at a live show.
The band played two full sets and an encore, covering a sizeable swath of their discography. Especially awesome were their renditions of “Juliet”, “Boogie on the Beech” (both of which had the whole crowd screaming along with the chorus), and “Me and My Baby”.
The band’s stage presence and demeanor throughout were awesome. They were energetic and dynamic and obviously enjoyed playing for the audience. They danced, clapped, bantered, and solicited audience interaction for the entire 2-ish hours they were on the stage.
Simply put, the show was amazing. If you ever get a chance to see the Red Elvises, definitely do so. They’re about as energetic, talented, and charming a band as I’ve seen in ages. They have plenty of dates scheduled for through the end of this year, so if they’ll be in your area, they’re well worth seeing.
Off to see the Red Elvises play down at the Blvd. So you folks don’t miss out on the fun, here they are performing “Cosmonaut Petrov”: