The town of Calexico takes its name from the state and country on whose border it lies: California and Mexico. You might guess that the band took their name from their hometown, but the rockers hail from Tucson. Instead, the town is a metaphor for their sound, which bow-leggedly straddles the line between country and mariachi, between American folk and tango. It's not all in their famously eclectic musical influences, either. The lyrics of their tune "Across the Wire" draw on the image of an eagle perched on a cactus to compare the border crossing of illegal immigrants with the Aztecs' search for Tenochtitlan; "Ballad of Cable Hogue" is a sun-soaked, sideways retelling of a Sam Peckinpah Western. What catapults Calexico far above their peers is their ability to harness the schizophrenic array of sounds and images into a unity: a sort of Southwestern snow globe, where desert sand and loneliness swirl around the scorpions and snakes. With the Acorn. 18+.
Sat., Nov. 22, 8 p.m., 2008