Iron & Wine and Calexico | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Iron & Wine and Calexico 

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In the Reins (Overcoat), a collaboration between Iron & Wine and Calexico, is the poppiest effort either act's released. Iron & Wine's Sam Beam, who sings in a dawn-breaks coo, sounds emboldened by Calexico's presence, and he almost breaks into a croon on "Red Dust," a song that might just kick off a new genre: twee bar boogie. Conversely, Calexico seems at times to hem in its horizon-wide expansiveness to suit Beam, and though the sound is less distinctively epic, the arrangements are no less lush. A few eclectic touches, like guest vocals from flamenco singer Salvador Duran and the most awkwardly placed horn fanfare this side of the Replacements' Pleased to Meet Me, help keep the album from merely sounding like Beam singing over Calexico tracks. This tour's loosely inspired by the Band's "Last Waltz" performance, making room for the occasional guest-star appearance. I'm hoping this also means that Beam might don an ill-fitting sequined suit a la Van Morrison and prance around the stage screaming "One more time!" But even if he doesn't it should be a heck of a show. Calexico opens, Iron & Wine plays second, then both play together. Sun 12/11, 6:45 PM, Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee, 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212, $18.50 in advance, $21 at the door. All ages.

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