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RODRIGO Y GABRIELA,
Hammersmith HMV Apollo
23 November 2009
pair have proven a phenomena, and just about everyone bar the mainstream
music press has twigged. They have their fans in the rock world, the folk
world, even Metal Hammer and The Guardian, their previous eponymous studio
album went gold, the current album has received universal rave reviews, so
why they arenít Word or Mojo cover stars is anyoneís guess.
The aforementioned new album features 11 tributes to guitarists who have
influenced the pair, and that is what the emphasis was on this evening,
and man was it electrifying!
was less formal this time, no chairs for them to sit on, the pair either
stood, walked around or sat casually on strategically placed onstage
equipment. But no matter, the performance was outstanding. Two nylon
strung acoustic guitars have never before made such a racket, nor had so
many people cheering and clapping along. It didnít take much arm waving
from Rodrigo to whip up a frenzy.
lead was fast, furious, intricate, while Gabrielaís rhythms were hard and
frantic. Most guitarists break strings, Gabriela tries to smash her guitar
with her bare hands. Literally. Thatís no drum, itís her guitar body
taking the punishment.
was played with passion, a range of rhythms (some middle eastern, and elsewhere
Spanish without being flamenco), and 'Diablo Rojo' 'Hanuman' (dedicated to
Carlos Santana) stood out. The playing nodded to Hendrix and Blackmore later
too. Itís like world music meets heavy metal, a phenomena you really need to
witness first hand.
less reliance on cover versions, although there was the odd bar of Led
Zeppelin and The Who thrown in to the several jams/medleys/solo spots, and
Metallicaís 'Orion' (the only full cover) proved as popular as ever. Rod
and Gab, as they are affectionately known to those in the know, honed this
style moving from thrash band to busking, and it works so well.
The show finished with a rousing rendition of 'Tamacun', a track so
popular with fans that the crowd were singing the guitar parts.
and Gabriela occasionally talked to the crowd, something they could do
more of in a 100 minute instrumental set (which did appear to use the odd
guitar effect), but even with no talking at all, this would still be
electrifying and captivating beginning to end.
Teenagers metal fans wearing 11:11 t-shirts, enthusing next to people old
enough to be their parents, and a very very full and enthusiastic Apollo,
I think tells you everything. Phenomenal.
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