CALEXICO, "WORLD DRIFTS IN"
There's not a lot of concert performances that I make a point of owning; however this one is an exception. A few months prior to releasing their 2003 Feast of Wire disc, Calexico took to the road with their augmented touring group, captured brilliantly in performance on this DVD. World Drifts In: Live at the Barbican London is an extra special evening as they'd brought along the wonderful group Mariachi Luz de Luna from their home town of Tucson, AZ to add an authentic flavor to their sound. Shot on video, which for this occasion looks better than film would, this exciting performance from November 27, 2002 is nicely edited together from several angles, including one of my favorites: right beside drummer John Convertino. Anyone that's seen the band live can attest to his mastery of the trapkit, which is a joy to watch. The crystal clear sound appears to be a direct line from the soundboard, with some room mikes capturing the ambience. There are a few moments when Joey Burns' splendid vocal performances on the newer tunes sound better than on what would be their new disc, which seems hard to believe. At 90 minutes, the material performed spans their short yet rich career, including a few traditional Mexicali numbers which highlight the Mariachi Luz de Luna's members as well as a traditional-sounding French number featuring chanteuse, Françoiz Breut. In addition to the performance, the DVD includes an additional hour's worth of extras which include homestyle/silent movies (set to Calexico tunes) of the band's 2003 European tour, interviews from the road with various members of the touring posse and excerpts from the making of Feast of Wire. Of course, videos for "The Black Light," "Ballad of Cable Hogue," and "Crystal Frontier" are included, which up to now I'd only seen as Quicktime files on various EPs. Also included is a humorous two-minute cartoon featuring the group's music and a brief documentary (shot by Señor Burns) which covers the origins of Mariachi through interviews with members of Mariachi Luz de Luna. I understand that this DVD has been available in the UK and Europe for a number of months now, as if to mock those of us in Region 1. Calexico put on one of the best performances I've seen in recent years, though in a club exceptionally smaller than the Barbican. Not surprisingly, although the performance on this DVD is nothing but stellar, it still doesn't top being there—but it comes awfully close.