Rodrigo Y Gabriela

How do you go about writing a gig review on a couple of guitarists – neither of whom sing a single word throughout the entire performance and to compound matters play all of their songs in Spanish! Aye Ca-rumba!

This was the veritable conundrum I was facing prior seeing the rather amazing Rodrigo y Gabriela. Two hours later it became hugely obvious that writing a review about the pair of guitar playing wizards would be a synch, with the only issue being able to fit in enough complementary adjectives. Yep – I pull no punches. I was impressed.

Nick Mulvey

“Hello Birmingham” greeted the trilby wearing Londoner Nick Mulvey as he made his way on to the stage to provide solo support. Unlike the previous night when I reviewed the impressive Ben Howard, the crowd went instantly quiet as Mr Mulvey started gently plucking his guitar – a higher class of punter at the HMV over the O2 or was it simply because it was a school night?

The singer played a short set but it was by no means unimpressive. A less Hawaiian version of Jack Johnson is how I would describe him, and certainly an act to look out for in the future.

Rodrigo Y Gabriela

Strumming away as two mysterious silhouettes behind a huge white sheet is how the pair decided to introduce themselves, to the evident delight of the packed crowd as they hit the ground running with a new tune and then blasted into the up-tempo foot stompers which are ‘Diablo Rojo’ and ‘Satori’.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Mexican musical duo better known as “Rod y Gab” it’s difficult to know how to describe their genre. In fact they are their genre! They combine expert traditional Spanish guitar, with Death Metal which would be more at home at a Metallica concert utilising a myriad of guitar pedals whilst creating their own drum machine courtesy of their guitar head.

Rodrigo Y Gabriela

Amongst the more traditional tunes they have been playing for years, they introduced a number of new tunes which seemed to have a slightly heavier 70’s rock feel and thus a more experimental slant. This can always be a risk for artists, but whilst the songs such as ‘Boston Voodoo’ are an obvious deviation from their normal style, they were really well received by their fans and had many chomping at the bit for the release of next year’s album.

As if two amazing musicians wasn’t enough for the evening’s entertainment, they also took time to introduce their now “friend and musical compadre” Alex Wilson on Jazz Piano. His fingers moved over the black and whites as quickly as the guitarists plucked and bashed their strings and the spectacle was something to behold.

Rodrigo Y Gabriela

Watching the pair compete on stage is like watching two medieval jousters going head to head only in this occasion their chosen weapon is the guitar. Spellbinding, mesmerising and astonishing are all plaudits which can be attributed to the two of them. The passion and energy created between them is palpable as Gabriela spins and jumps around the stage and Rodrigo stands their doing his ‘thang’.

Rodrigo Y Gabriela

They finished off this extra special night with their most famous song ‘Tamacun’, the opening track from their self-titled 2006 album and more recently from the animated masterpiece Puss in Boots.

By their own admission they haven’t played Birmingham for some time, but when they do come back to see us, you really should make an effort to attend. Not only will you be treated to a master class in Spanish guitar, but you’ll also see a spectacle that is witnessed by two few many and can be emulated by even fewer.

Rodrigo Y Gabriela

Gig Review by Zak Edwards
Gig Photos by Bianca Barrett

2 Responses to “Rodrigo y Gabriela + Nick Mulvey @ The HMV Institute, Birmingham, UK – 25th November 2012”

  1. john bentley Says:

    You seem to have a particular knack of taking great pics of this band, Bianca! (like your Weston Park Festival shots). These are great, especially the third pic.

  2. Bianca Says:

    Thank you John. My favourite is the last but one. They’re a lot of fun to photograph and see play live :)

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