BEING THERE: Iron & Wine + Calexico @ UT



Sam Beam took his place Friday night on the Union Transfer stage by a bank of half a dozen acoustic guitars and a glass of red wine, the crew of Calexico supporting the flanks. The Tucson-based Tejano troubadours have been collaborating and co-touring with Beam — better known by nom de guerre Iron & Wine — on and off now for about 15 years.Trading vocal harmonies with Calexico’s Joey Burns, and alternating between the two songwriters’ compositions, Beam’s smoky mountain ballads in perfect complement with Burns’ brass-gilded southwestern score. The magnetic indie folk singer and his iconic indie beard holds court at his shows with an objective, unpretentious stage cool — almost like McConaughey minus the ego — and the same intense but subdued strength that characterizes his studio recordings, and makes his crowds want to pocket their phones and lean in. — JOSH PELTA-HELLER