Monday, 6 August 2007

Rodrigo y Gabriela, at the Barrowlands Glasgow, June 4th 2007

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Worship at the church of Rodrigo y Gabriela. Music of wonder and passion. The gig was foot-stomping, achingly sad, wondrous and passionate. They do a dynamic version of Stairway to Heaven and Mettallica songs mixed with flamenco and classical.
The gig was started by Brad Dannon from California and he had rich vocals and interesting songs. After which the stage was reverently set for the main act with mics, guitars and leads being carefully positioned and the still anticipation as we watched the two chairs set on the quiet stage..
Then stage was set on fire! as Rodrigo y Gabriela brilliantly counterpoint each other - Gabriela with her flowing rhythmic passion and Rodrigo with his guitar licks, pounding and delicious swirls, and heartbreaking guitar melodies.
They had no set list. Rodrigo led and took us on a musical journey from rock - several Mettallica song such as Orion, and Led Zeppelin – and their own songs. Gabriela is more flamingo in style, she burrs and hums and whirs her guitar, with her long hair flowing behind her.

Rodrigo’s music flows seamlessly while taking unexpected turns, one minute pounding the guitar, the next quietly and poignantly moving up the frets. There were moments of deep heartbreaking pathos, that suddenly turned into energetic exhilaration. A high point, of which there were several, was their playing of Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You were Here’ with the crowd doing the vocals. Another was Rodrigo’s playing of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ - and he made this ultimate rock classic his own with changes that work perfectly.
Their performance had no airs or graces and they connected to the audience through their unique and wondrous acoustic music. I enjoyed the way they built up the momentum over the set and gave us something entirely new. For their encore they played Diablo Rojo and then after they went to shake hands with the front row of the audience.

The packed crowd left feeling a wonderful high. I hope they enjoyed their last gig of their present tour. They were returning to Mexico the next day and return to the UK to play Glastonbury. Rodrigo y Gabriela got their break after touring Europe in 2000 and then settling in Dublin, where they felt a kinship with the Irish and immersed themselves in the music scene there. They released a live album in 2001 and Rodrigo y Gabriela in 2006. Haste ye back to Scotland!
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Oddly on Monday two of the biggest names to emerge from Glasgow in recent years played small venue gigs here - perhaps in an attempt to get back to their grassroots with low key performances to a small crowd.
Franz Ferdinand at the Grand Old Opry in the depths of the south side, and Snow Patrol at King Tuts in Sauchiehall street – the place where they played years back and built up their fanbase. FF meanwhile played parties in Glasgow - hence their ‘music for girls to dance to!’ which has made them the biggest band out of Scotland.