Calexico at Corona Ranch Last Night

Calexico at Corona Ranch Last Night

Someone at Corona Ranch realized it was after 11 p.m. Someone knew the band had been playing for damn-near two-hours. Someone wanted to punch their time-card and go home, not caring to hear a truly stellar Southwesternized version of "Tomorrow Never Knows," which you'd have to imagine part-time Tucsonian Paul McCartney smiling at.

This someone wasn't me and I know he or she exists only because someone flipped on the house lights half-way through Calexico's encore, trying to tell the veteran Tucson indie act their time was up. Joey Burns and his band ignored it, playing through the Beatles cover then doing one more song even as the lights angrily flickered for a few seconds before giving up and going dark.

It was that sort of night at the Laveen party center where Calexico impressed a mix of locals and visitors in town for the Association of Independent Media Stores convention brought here by Kimber Lanning of Stinkweeds.

Lanning herself made a brief announcement before the headliner came on -- from where I stood it sounded like she was thanking us for shopping at Basha's -- opening with the appropriately atmospheric "Across The Wire."

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The large short-trip-up-The-10 version of the band started our "small" (only nine people on stage) swelling to 12 as three trumpeters from opener Sergio Mendoza Y La Orkesta's band joined for "Deep Down."

It was then that the dancing started to reach a fever pitch -- a trend that continued through Feast Of Wire opener "Sunken Waltz." "Man Made Lake," which followed shortly, received some of the night's loudest applause and the band kept the momentum going through "Two Silver Trees."

"Lucky Dime," dedicated to Gabby Giffords and those who've "gone over to the other side" was another highlight of the night.

The Giffords touch -- Calexico is one of the mending congresswoman's favorite bands -- was also felt on "Crystal Frontier," the song the band sent up to space to roust Giffords husband and the crew on his most recent space flight.

After a few more, it was time for the encore break and a few well-lit songs.

Even the lights flipping on helped make the night special, though -- it was only then that the stage got bright enough for me to see the Arizona flag subtly tacked up to the curtain near the drum riser.

Un gesto muy elegante por nuestros amigos de Tucson.

Critic's Notebook:

Last Night: Calexico at Corona Ranch

Personal Bias: I've always enjoyed the band but am not a super-fan or anything. They're definitely fun to watch live, though, especially when they have a huge backing cast.

The Crowd: Tall and scarf-y.

Overheard: Someone on stage -- I won't name names -- paid the Valley an accurate if accidentally backhanded compliment: "I've gotta say - Heritage Square, Corona Ranch, it feels like Tucson up in Phoenix!" A more Phoenix-feeling Phoenix show would, presumably, be played in the food court of a newish strip mall overlooking a freeway.

Random Notebook Dump: You could smell the cold leaking from the brick walls... Drunken dancers in front of me = super annoying. No wonder such a primo spot was open.

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