You'd expect plenty of horns and rhythm at this distinctly Tucson festival.
But even with the young mariachis, Sergio Mendoza's indie-mambo orchestra and Calexico's uniquely Southwestern blend of sounds, there was still room for more.
New Orleans' Rebirth Brass Band brought an entirely different flavor to the party. Jazzy, funky and impossibly tight, the Rebirth Brass Band is a collection of absolutely masterful horn players and drummers, cutting loose with solos up and down the line.
Their contagious, feel-good set, sandwiched between local favorites Y La Orkesta and Calexico on the main stage, brought a Louisiana strut to the street-party vibe, the three trumpets and two trombones weaving a complex yet catchy knit of melodies and counter melodies.
Calexico's closing set started with a couple of old favorites - "Crystal Frontier" and "Across the Wire" - before a handful of songs from 2012's excellent Algiers "Splitter" and "Epic" in particular brought a new sort of mysticism to the band's sound, while "Maybe on Monday" and "Para" in the middle settled on the crowd, ominous like storm clouds.
After a couple covers the band has long since made their own - the Minutemen's "Corona" and Love's "Alone Again Or" - Calexico closed with their new epic, "Puerto," and an encore of "(Is Anybody Going to) San Antone?" and "Guero Canelo."
Heartless Bastards took the last slot on the Telles Street Stage with a fiery set that drew from last year's Arrow. Frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom has a soaring voice perfect for her band's gritty, blistering rock on songs like "Gotta Have Rock and Roll" and closer "Late in the Night."
Y La Orkesta continues its evolution away from a straight mambo band, incorporating new members on violin and guitar, and styles that range from cumbia to the spaghetti-Western epic "Traicionera," revealing Mendoza as an even more multi-faceted musician and bandleader.
The newly rechristened Sun Bones (formerly Boreas) added some rowdiness and art-punk crowd-dancing to their four-part harmonies, while The Cordials used a searing Courtney Robbins guitar solo on "Wildfire Girl" to get the early crowd grooving.
(Wolf Larsen and Sweet Ghosts also performed; alas, I arrived too late to catch them.)