ron & Wine and Calexico brought the first two nights of their 2020 joint tour to Chicago’s Thalia Hall. This iconic venue in Pilsen was absolutely packed for the sold-out second show as fans anxiously awaited what was bound to be an iconic performance. Iron and Wine is Sam Beam and Calexio is Joey Burns and John Convetino. These two groups, hailing from North Carolina and Arizona respectively, have their own distinct sound but are collaborating together to make something truly special. This tour, in support of their new album, Years to Burn, is showcasing a blend of their two styles. Their collective sound infuses horns and Spanish melodies with Beams' folky guitar sound to create songs that make for awesome live shows.
Madison Cunningham, an LA native, opened the show with her two bandmates, Daniel Rhine and Kyle Crane. They delivered a performance that left many people in the audience talking about it after it was done. Her soothing vocals are reminiscent of the iconic early-70’s folk singers and at just 21 years-old, her future is looking bright. Her newest single “No One Else to Blame” is out now.
While the crew was setting up the stage for the show, the crowd was buzzing with anticipation and anxiously talking with each other about how this set might differ from the previous night. As the band walked out on stage it was clear how happy they were to be back for round two. The set opened with “Father Mountain,'' a standout track on the new album, and continued on with a couple more songs from the newest project as well as the In the Reins EP the pair released in 2005. The most notable thing about both Iron & Wine and Calexico is their sheer musicianship. Everybody on stage was so talented both musically and lyrically. Between the dueling guitar sounds and soothing harmonies there was also an accordion, a horn section and an upright bass. The music had countless layers that were unwrapped before everyone's eyes. It was also obvious that both bands loved their audience. Throughout the night they constantly thanked them for being so polite and even called out a couple people who were there the night before. “We love playing Chicago” Beam stated halfway through the set, a statement that was met with loud cheers.
The full band also performed both Iron & Wine songs and Calexico songs as well as a couple covers by legendary artists such as Lucinda Williams and Echo & the Bunneymen. It’s always special when bands do covers because it really lets the audience in on who their influences are and what kind of music inspires them. As the set winded down and came to a close there was almost a bittersweet feeling in the room. Nobody wanted the magic to end. The joint Iron & Wine and Calexico tour continues through February. Check out a list of the upcoming show and grab tickets here