Tuscon, Arizona’s favourite sons by Madelaine Empson
20 years ago, Calexico – Joey Burns and John Convertino, both formerly of cult act Giant Sand – released their seminal record Feast of Wire. Their stars were already on the rise with The Black Light (1998) and Hot Rail (2000), but it was Feast of Wire that completed the trilogy of sorts, shooting them into the musical stratosphere.
From then till now, Burns says Calexico has stayed true to form instrumentally, but stylistically, they’ve embraced more Latin rhythms – especially on tour.
“Over the years we’ve been diving into cumbias and featuring vocals en español from our bandmates Jacob, Sergio, Jairo, and Brian. When we made Feast of Wire in 2003, we were experimenting with various musical influences like cumbias on Güero Canelo, trip hop on Black Heart, world music on Quattro (World Drifts In), and straight up folk on Sunken Waltz, tying them together with our signature sounds. For me, it’s John’s drumming which helps connect all of the different influences into one cohesive character.”
The genre-straddling band spent 2023 touring tirelessly across Europe and America in support of the double decade milestone. Now, it’s New Zealand’s turn. Calexico will perform Feast of Wire in sequence from start to finish, followed by a host of songs from their back catalogue with a few covers sprinkled in the mix. Described as “amazing live” by The Guardian, Wellingtonians can’t miss The Opera House concert on the 9th of February.
“The shows have been really fun and the crowds have been enjoying hearing some songs we haven’t played in 20 years”, Burns concludes. “So I hope to see you all at the show. It’s gonna be a blast.”