Scenes From Last Night's Awe-Inspiring Calexico Show at the Granada.
It's a rare thing when crowd, performer and venue all work in concert (pun intended) to contributing to a show's success. Far more frequently, at least one of these factors gets in the way of an otherwise good time.
Not last night, though. Within minutes of Calexico's 10 o'clock set start at the Granada Theater, it was abundantly obvious that this was going to be a special night.
The band, as undisputed a collection of incredible musicians as exists in the indie rock world today, was decidedly on point at this affair, sounding impressively full — but, remarkably, never too loud or crowded — as they crafted their token Southwestern soundscapes that, in the hands of lesser performers, could so easily come across as corny. In turn, the crowd (aside from a single, otherwise out-of-character moment just before midnight and during a quieter moment in the band's encore) was respectful and enthralled. And the venue? Well, as Calexico frontman Joey Burns put it at one point, sounded perfect, too.
“We've played thousands of venues all across the world,” Burns said during one of his more heartfelt asides in a performance filled with them, “but, tonight, this venue is really singing.”
He was right, of course. In the hands of an incapable sound engineer, Calexico could sound way off. Instead, as the band ran through a lengthy offering of songs from throughout its 15-plus-year career, they sounded impeccable, filling the room, but never overpowering it.
It was an inspiring display — the kind of performance that skyrockets a band's already strong reputation in the mind of its already adoring audience.
The whole night played out like that, actually. Toronto-based openers Bahamas too impressed at this affair, also sounding impressively lush despite the four-piece's spare instrumentation (two back-up singers, a lead vocalist/guitarist, and a drummer).
It wasn't a loud night at the Granada, no. But it was hardly a subdued one, either. This affair was perfectly positioned in the middle of those extremes.
Burns was spot on: The Granada did sing on this night.