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Review Mon Nov 24 2008

Review: Calexico, The Acorn @ Metro

A small crowd was huddled into the Metro on Friday night, huddled together in the center of the room after begrudgingly dropping off their outer layers at the coat check. The crowd huddled closer once The Acorn took the stage, drawn either to the rope lights that adorned their mic stands or the chance to generate more heat.

The Acorn

The five young Canadians launched into the most polite set of indie rock to feature two drummers at the same time. A pair of mandolins were passed around the band, and it seemed that all six of the gents were taking turns at nearly every instrument in their collection. The girl at my side summed them up best as "homework rock". Aside from a couple of peaks, the band played a consistent and mellow set, leaving the crowd to decent applause.

The Acorn

By ten, the crowd had nearly doubled, and after the usual wait, Marty from XRT came out to introduce...Joey Burns and a lap guitar player? Joey sang an impromptu ditty about Chicago, and declared that because his fingers were blue from the cold, he would sing "Bisbee Blue". As the final words repeated, he shifting into introductions — John Convertino and the rest of Calexico were here after all, thank god — (no offense Joey, but we need the whole package).


The band launched into some cuts from the recent "Carried to Dust", including guest spots from and hometown Tortoise backbone Doug McCombs. Core member Jacob Valenuela provided some Spanish vocals for great effect on several songs, as well as adding his superb trumpet skills, sometimes both in the same song. John Convertino played his drums with maracas, and Martin Wenk playing about seven instruments throughout the night (depending on whether you counted his excellent whistle solo — watch your back, Andrew Bird).


As the evening wore on, the crowd got loosened up, and a few dancing couples could be spotted here and there. The band also brought out members of the Acorn for some extra percussion later in the show, and after "Two Silver Trees" and "Writer's Minor Holiday", claimed that they had one more for the night. A nearly unrecognizable "Not Even Stevie Nicks" with extra spice came and went, followed by the band's cover of Love's "Alone Again Or" (which the crowd sang along with gleefully, subject matter be damned).


After "Guero Canelo", the band finally left the stage, but...surprise surprise, they managed to wander back for an encore. The Acorn's lead singer came back out for
dual vocal duties with Joey on a worthy cover of "Love Will Tear Us Apart", and a few more songs were played while a man in a puffy jacket kept popping on stage behind the band, seemingly telling Joey to wrap things up in between songs — but to little success. The evening ended with the band trailing off into rounds of distortion, leaving one by one to applause. Finally, only super-guest Mr. McCombs was left on stage, pulling the last bits of sound out of his whammy bar and looking almost sad that it had to end. Without a wave, he turned his back and walked off stage, capping a fine evening of musicians at the peak of their powers.


(Photos by Sandor Weisz, see more at our Transmission Flickr page)

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

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  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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