Calexico, change & late-night reminders
Posted on January 23rd, 2013
t was a surprising show, not the least of which was the fact that I was there for it.
For someone who met her husband at a bar, I don’t really go in for them so much. Live music is exciting and I aspire to be cool as much as the next mother staring down midlife, but I get sleepy and I like to have a place to sit down and bars are really no place for people with these sorts of proclivities. This isn’t a sea change, either, somehow reflecting my dignified passage into middle age. I’ve always been this way. When a friend brought me to see Prince during his Don’t-Call-Me-That phase and told me that the purple one never appeared onstage until between 11 and midnight, I almost spit my drink on him.
But the band Calexico came through town over the weekend and it was by way of a blog that I’d found them. A song from their new album had been included on a British blogger’s podcast last summer (that song, “Para” still available now as a free download on the band’s website) and I was hooked. No kidding, I bought their physical CD at retail. Who does that anymore? When I’d written—flippantly and fast—in a Facebook thread for the band that had appeared in my newsfeedthat they should consider including Albuquerque on their tour, a minder for the page kindly informed me that Albuquerque was already among the scheduled tour dates.
Supporting my new favorite band would require the purchase of tickets, the cost of our beloved babysitter and for me to stay up a good two hours past my bedtime and, frankly, I wasn’t sure I was up to it. Mostly the last part. We didn’t buy tickets until the day before the concert and, even then, Scott had to provide a near-constant stream of reassuring chatter that we would be glad we’d gone, damn it.
At our particular show, the crowd appeared equally devoted to a band I’d never heard of before, Trampled by Turtles, a kind of a thrash bluegrass experience that took to the stage before Calexico. People screamed “TBT!” at the stage and Scott told me that he strongly suspected there to be a Trampled by Turtles dance move being executed by more than one hippity-hoppity college-aged girl, bouncing up and down wildly to the strains of a mandolin and a banjo.
And when Calexico finally did play it was obviously not what many of my fellow-concert goers had expected to hear from this band. The same CD that had brought me to the club that night, Algiers, was new to many of them. The mariachi-informed sound they’d come in to hear was less…pronounced than perhaps they had hoped. The horns were still there, bright and joyful and proud, but they weren’t front and center, with songs from the new studio session in New Orleans elbowing into the set list for their own time on stage.
The unexpected throws off our rhythm. You can’t sing along with it, either. Most of us would like to change something about ourselves or our lives—are, in fact, trying to make changes—and it’s discouraging to have our new growth be so disconcerting to other people. I realized at the show night that the same must hold true for bands and, upon reflection and with a couple of days’ perspective, probably my children, too.
Staying up past my bedtime proved musically satisfying, even somewhat spiritually enlightening. There’s a lesson there, too, but I’m still too sleepy to think about it too much.∗
And the Wonderful Whoopie Pie Birthday Giveaway continues all week Leave a comment on any post and you’re entered to win six delicioso Chocolate Vanilla Whoopie Pies from the New Mexico Pie Company. Get on with it!