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Warwick Arts Centre

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University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL
  • Box office 02476 524524
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  • Website www.warwickartscentre.co.uk
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Calexico and Iron & Wine

Calexico and Iron & Wine

The ninth studio album from Calexico, The Thread That Keeps Us is a timely snapshot of the Arizona-bred band: a family portrait capturing their stylistic variety and unpredictability while still findingsolace in limitless creativity. In bringing the album to life, vocalist/guitarist Joey Burns and drummerJohn Convertino found a spiritual home in unusual surroundings-not in Arizona, but on theNorthern California coast in a home-turned-studio called the Panoramic House. Built from debrisand shipyard-salvaged timber-and dubbed "The Phantom Ship" by the band-the grandiose houseand its edge-of-the-world-like ambience soon made their way into the songs. The specter of California also had a powerful effect: as both dream state and nightmare, its infinite duality ismirrored in the music, giving Calexico a new direction and new edge. With less polish and more gritthan ever before, The Thread That Keeps Us both honors enduring traditions and reveals Calexico's confidence in songwriting, ultimately setting a whole new standard for the band.

As heard on the album's lead single and opening track, the drama of the landscape directly impactedthe making of The Thread That Keeps Us. Driven by sing-song melody and galloping rhythms, "End ofthe World with You" discovers an unlikely romanticism in volatile times. With its lyrics illuminating"Love in the age of the extremes," the track is the perfect intro to an album that endlessly exploresthe contrast between bright and dark, hope and fear.

Working with their longtime engineer Craig Schumacher, Calexico co-produced The Thread ThatKeeps Us, gathering musicians from across the globe to dream up an earthy yet expansive soundspiked with jagged guitar tones and flashes of distortion. "There's a little more chaos and noise inthe mix than what we've done in the past," Burns points out. Although that chaos has much to dowith "where we're at right now as a planet," it also echoes Calexico's dedication to constant experimentation. "Whenever we're writing and we come up with something that feels too familiar, someone will end up saying, 'That feels good, but let's keep going and see what else we canuncover,'" Burns says. "It's been really important to the arc of this band's evolution for us to alwayskeep on trying new things."

Like "End of the World with You," much of The Thread That Keeps Us captures the anxieties and unease of living in tumultuous times. But while the album draws a kinetic energy from all that uncertainty, its lyrics unfold with a literary nuance and sense of setting and character. "Instead of writing straight-up protest songs, I want to tell stories," Burns says. Largely inspired by his wanderings around Northern California during the album's production, the narratives embedded inThe Thread That Keeps Us reflect on displacement, transitory existence, and-in Burns's words-"returning to your home after being gone for some time and seeing how things have changed, andmaybe not in the best way."

As the exact embodiment of that theme, "Thrown to the Wild" delivers one of the most mesmerizing moments on The Thread That Keeps Us. With its gritty but poetic storytelling, the song opens on a downtown bus station late at night, its sleepy rhythms and atmospheric haze intensifyingthe bleakness of the scene (sample lyric: "Home's waiting like a motherless child"). From there,"Thrown to the Wild" slips into a glorious frenzy of hummed harmonies, sprawling guitar lines, andJacob Valenzuela's sorrowful trumpet playing, the effect both hypnotic and jarring. "We wanted thesecond part of the song to just open into this sea of chaos," says Burns, adding: "Sometimes chaos can be a good thing."

Eclectic in sound and feeling, The Thread That Keeps Us also offers the measured fury of "Bridge to Nowhere," the triumphant grooves of the Spanish-sung "Flores y Tamales," the meditative rhythms and jangly guitar riffs of "Another Space." On "The Town & Miss Lorraine," shimmering tones anddelicate mandolin melodies play against the darkly cinematic mood of the lyrics ("Sliding into the sea/With cynicism and rum/Watching Miss Lorraine/Smoking alone with the moon"). The mostbrutal track on The Thread That Keeps Us, "Dead in the Water" builds a thrilling menace from itssnarling guitar riffs, frantic piano rhythms, and piercing lyrics penned for what Burns describes as"the antagonist to the story of the album-a kind of monster" ("Don't try to look away or stop me in my path/I make the law and I decree a new kind of wrath"). And woven throughout The Thread That Keeps Us are a series of instrumental interludes, including the lilting folk of "Unconditional Waltz" and the dreamy psychedelia of "Spinball." "Going into making the album, the only thing Ireally knew for sure was that I wanted there to be moments that felt free and spontaneous-just these moments of no time, no lyrics, no agenda," says Burns.

One of the most stirring tracks on The Thread That Keeps Us, "Girl in the Forest" spins a gentle fable from its near despair over the state of the planet ("Well the world was spinning so fast, nobody took the time"). "That song wouldn't have been written unless I was sitting next to my daughter Twyla,who was humming along as I was making up this melody," says Burns. "For months we tried finishing the lyrics together; I was leading with this idea about environmentalism and protesters inthe forest, and I thought there could be some sort of spirit who appears. And then my daughter told me, 'Yeah, that's cool-but maybe it's just a girl who's friends with all the animals.'"

With "Girl in the Forest," The Thread That Keeps Us displays a sensibility that's long informed Calexico's songwriting: a transcendentalist infatuation with the wild beauty of nature, a fascination deepened during their time at Panoramic House. "Being up there on the mountain and taking walkson the shore, and even swimming in the cold water, we couldn't help but be inspired by nature,"says Convertino. "Our love for our earth, our home, and the future of our children came into focuseven more, giving the inspiration and desire to give back something that's positive and beautiful andlife-affirming."

In that life-affirming spirit, Calexico decided to end The Thread That Keeps Us with a moment of fragile optimism. Described by Burns as "a love song for my kids," the piano-laced, sweetly swaying"Music Box" speaks to preserving dreams in a troubled reality. "Right now we're at the edge of another potential crisis unfolding, and it's haunting every night as you put your kids to sleep," says Burns. "But at the same time, you look into a child's eyes and you see something hopeful, even if they've maybe heard little pieces of what's going on in the news. I think that's pretty much the case with this band: we still have hope, and we're still so excited to be making this music together."

CALEXICO ARE: Joey Burns, John Convertino, Martin Wenk, Jacob Valenzuela, Sergio Mendoza,Jairo Zavala Ruiz, and Scott Colberg.

Thu 21 Nov
Butterworth Hall

£40

Prices to be confirmed

Creative Chillout

Creative Chillout

Students! Are you tired of your studies or just looking for a way to express yourself? Join our friendly team to make and create. It doesn’t matter if you are an artist or just looking for a chat. We’ll provide the materials, tea and snacks you just need to bring yourself and maybe a friend.

Fri 15 Nov

Free but ticketed

Fri 29 Nov

Free but ticketed

Frank Skinner: Showbiz

Frank Skinner: Showbiz

Frank Skinner embarks on his first stand-up tour in four years.

Tue 19 Nov

£28

Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope

Blink. Blink again. What do you see?

Day by day your world is filling up with colour, little one.

Reds and blues, yellows and greens. Twinkling lights that glisten and gleam.

Your reflection is staring back at you, wide eyed and full of hope. Mirrors, lights, colours and sounds. The world is your kaleidoscope.

Inspired by research into how a baby’s sense of sight develops and how they instinctively begin to categorise colour, watch as a multi-coloured kaleidoscope is brought to life for you and your baby.

Sun 17 Nov

£12

Lenny Henry: Who Am I Again?

An Evening with Lenny Henry

Comedian Lenny Henry recounts his experiences of growing up in the Black Country and his experiences of racism.

Sun 17 Nov

£29.50–£32.50

Mi:lab

Mi:lab

Interested in moving images and digital arts and looking for a place to enhance your existing skills and develop new ones? As part of Moving Image Lab (MI:Lab), explore and interpret a variety of sources while developing skills, including video capture, virtual reality, online apps and animation, amongst many others. The Lab will be led by Dom Breadmore of Ludic Rooms, with guest artist slots to broaden opportunities and skill development. At the end of each term there will be the chance to share what is created at a joint city-wide MI:Lab event.

Wed 20 Nov

£70

Wed 27 Nov

£70

Wed 4 Dec

£70

NT Live: A Midsummer Night's Dream

National Theatre Live: A Midsummer Night's Dream

A joyous adaptation of Shakespeare's magical romantic comedy, in which a feuding fairy King and Queen draw four young lovers and some other unsuspecting mortals into their dispute. Directed by Nicholas Hynter and starring Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones) as Titania.

Mon 18 Nov

Romesh Ranganathan: The Cynic's Mixtape

Romesh Ranganathan: The Cynic's Mixtape

Brutally honest comedy from the star of Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan, A League Of Their Own and Judge Romesh.

Fri 15 Nov

£23

Sat 16 Nov

£23

Self-Led Sculpture Trail

Self-Led Sculpture Trail

Every Saturday and selected dates in the school holidays, families are invited to pick up a specially designed Explorer backpack and embark on a self-led art and history trail around campus. The backpacks contain arts materials and binoculars amongst other things encouraging all explorers to get involved. Visit warwickartscentre.co.uk for more details.

Fri 15 Nov

Free but ticketed

Fri 22 Nov

Free but ticketed

Fri 29 Nov

Free but ticketed

Fri 6 Dec

Free but ticketed

Fri 13 Dec

Free but ticketed

Fri 20 Dec

Free but ticketed

Youth Theatre

Youth Theatre

Do you want to improve your drama skills?

Would you like to perform at Warwick Arts Centre?

The sessions cover a wide range of skills including text, improvisation, ensemble work, and of course lots of games, all based around a termly theme or stimulus. It also gives you the opportunity to increase confidence, make new friends and improve team work.

The youth theatre see a professional show at Warwick Arts Centre each term and create original performances at the end of each term. In the Summer term, it's all hands on deck to perform in one of Warwick Arts Centre's professional venues.

Sat 16 Nov

£5.50–£55

Sat 23 Nov

£5.50–£55

Sat 30 Nov

£5.50–£55

Sat 7 Dec

£5.50–£55

Warwick Arts Centre

In 1970, just five years after being established, the University of Warwick commissioned the building of an arts centre. Opening in 1974, the building won a RIBA award

Over the years, the centre has welcomed a range of performances and today, across the venue's five performance spaces – Butterworth Hall, Theatre, Studio Theatre, Cinema and Gallery – music, drama, comedy, film and community events are presented daily.

Warwick Arts Centre is served by the A45, A46, M40 and M42 and there are car parks throughout the town. Bus number 12 and Unibus drop off near to the venue and the 12 runs from the train station.

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