sun 21/04/2024

Rodrigo y Gabriela, Town Hall, Birmingham review - Mexican superstar guitarists bring a set of new sounds | reviews, news & interviews

Rodrigo y Gabriela, Town Hall, Birmingham review - Mexican superstar guitarists bring a set of new sounds

Rodrigo y Gabriela, Town Hall, Birmingham review - Mexican superstar guitarists bring a set of new sounds

Hypnotic grooves and cinematic textures make for a heady brew

Rodrigo y Gabriela: no heritage act

Despite playing together for almost 25 years, Rodrigo y Gabriela are still taking chances in the live arena and refusing to take the easy path. They certainly didn’t put on a heritage act set in Birmingham this weekend.

The Mexican guitarists’ show comprised wholly of tracks taken from their recent In Between Thoughts… A New World album and a handful of unrecorded tunes that have been composed since recording this disc. So, there was no “Diablo Rojo” and none of their flamenco nuevo-tinged covers of “Creep”, “Stairway to Heaven” or even their magnificent take on Pink Floyd’s “Echoes”, not that it seemed to bother the audience at a heaving Town Hall unduly.

Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero strode onto the misty stage both dressed in black and bathed in red and purple light, him with an electric six-string slung on his hip and her with an acoustic guitar strapped to her chest. Without a word they broke straight into “Astrum in Corpore”, a tune that has yet to see the inside of a recording studio. It was a brave start, but one that grabbed the attention of a diverse crowd whose ages ranged from pre-teens to retirees.

From there, they plunged into the driving “True Nature” from the new album, as Rodrigo paced around in his leather jacket and Gabriela firmly planted herself stage left, her right hand a blur as she strummed the rhythm manically. This set the scene for a wild evening of flamenco-flavoured cinematic, hard rock and psychedelic instrumentals that put smiles on the faces of many, even if it didn’t seem to encourage much in the way of dancing.

New tune “Monster” was accompanied by green pulsating lighting that gave a Northern Lights effect to a tune about how we can all show the worst of our characters from time to time. While “Simurgh” initially had both players sitting down before they captured the stage as tempo built up to something considerably more lively. This was further endorsed by the rocking “Broken Rage” that had Gabriela pogoing across the boards like a young punk.

While Rodrigo and Gabriela were the only musicians on stage for the whole gig, there was plenty of use made of pedals and semi-orchestral sounds throughout. Given that two guitarists can frequently be only of so much interest, this did suggest that maybe recruiting a backing band of sorts might have made more of a performance of the show. This was only a fleeting thought though and the Mexican superstars did more than enough to earn the extended applause they received before the house lights finally went up at the end of the show. Finishing off with a couple more new tunes that seemed to be untitled but were accompanied by Rodrigo-directed audience vocalisations and spoken word samples, it would seem that the duo have got plenty more tunes for a new album and should get back into the studio pronto and bottle the lightning before they get bored of playing them.

Rodrigo paced around in his leather jacket and Gabriela firmly planted herself stage left, her right hand a blur as she strummed the rhythm manically

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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