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I happen to think Calexico‘s latest album, Carried to Dust, might just be their best album yet, a bit of a surprise after two relatively disappointing releases. So it was with some eagerness that I went to their show last Thursday at the 9:30 Club, and the show met my expectations. Calexico’s setlists vary pretty widely from show to show, but on this tour they seem to be consistently mixing in a decent amount of old material with a heaping helping of songs from Carried to Dust. Last night followed the trend; the new songs sounded almost uniformly great, although a particular highlight was a version of “Fractured Air” that was the set closer, and was substantially rocked up to better fit that role.

Other high points? “Minas de Cobre,” which opened up the encore. The whistling on “El Gatillo,” for which the crowd went wild. The version of “Güero Canelo” into which the band inserted a sizable chunk of Manu Chao‘s Desaparecido (this was hands down my favorite moment of the night). Joey Burn’s acoustic guitar, subtly adorned with an “I Voted” sticker.


There were some songs I wish I could have heard (“Slowness,” “In the Reins,” some older stuff), but after the rousing encore not even the folks chatting loudly over the music right behind me all night could ruin the show’s good vibes.

More photos? Sure, why not.