Rodrigo Y Gabriela
April 7, 2012
The Hollywood Palladium
As the lights went down, the crowd cheered on the Latin guitarists as they took the stage; and as soon as the first few riffs were heard, the entire venue exploded with excitement. Not necessarily because the kick ass guitar duo had just set foot on stage, but because their six-piece band started playing riffs from the song "The Pot" by Tool. Seconds after people in the crowd screaming "Oh my god! They're opening with Tool..." the fiery duo led the dark riffs of Maynard into energetic salsa rock that had every one in the crowd instantly shimmying and shaking.
Originally known as acoustic solo artists, the Mexico natives have stepped up their game for their Spring tour. The duo has a full Cuban ensemble, known as C.U.B.A, accompany them while on stage, which made their performance last Saturday night nothing short of magical. When the Flamenco rockers traveled to Cuba to record their new album, Area 52, they recorded with a 13-piece band. Many critics and fans a like thought that the simplicity that made Rodrigo Y Gabriela fascinatingly unique would get lost. However, the close to two-hour set at the Palladium not only showcased how phenomenal the Latin rockers are, but also demonstrated that they have taken their music to the next level.
Between Rodrigo Sanchez, Gabriela Quintero, and the members of C.U.B.A the musicianship on stage was undeniable. Through out the entire set, the music coming from the stage was oozing with greatness that not only kept the audience entertained, but also kept them dancing. The members of the band doubled many of the leading rhythms in each song, which amplified the duo's fiery energy. Trumpeter Amik Guerra and saxophonist Leonardo Castellini Castillo often picked up the central melodies and played them in conjunction with Rodrigo. Percussionist Bernald Edwin Sanz Mijares doubled Gabriela on the percussive pieces making the beats of each song powerful and exotic.
After hearing intricate guitar solos from Rodrigo and Gabriela who incorporated psychedelic whines of the guitar mixed with song snippets from The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Guns n' Roses and Stevie Wonder, the lead pair gave the spot light to members of C.U.B.A, who undoubtedly rocked the house. The band proved multiple times through out the set that they could hold their own, as they jammed for a good ten minutes as Rodrigo and Gabriela were off stage.
Toward the end of the show, Rodrigo addressed the crowd by saying, "Is there anyone in here who loves metal? If so fucking show me!" As the crowd let out a volatile cheer, he introduced the drummer from the band White Zombie who accompanied Rodrigo, Gabriela and C.U.B.A on stage. For the last fifteen minutes of the show, before the band went off for an encore, John Tempest contributed heavy drums to the flamenco rhythms and beats of Rodrigo and Gabriela's music, which not only caused the crowd to go literally insane, but also took the energy up a few notches.
Everything about the show was amazing: the visuals, the music, the crowd and the energy. If Rodrigo Y Gabriela continue in this direction, the dueling guitarists from Mexico will no longer have a small name. The sold out performance at the Palladium on Saturday night proved that the fiery Latin rockers have a bright road ahead of them.
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The Crowd: Everyone was doing their own, drunk, rendition of a salsa/rumba/ tango dance. It was definitely entertaining.
Critics Bias: I've wanted to see Rodrigo Y Gabriela for over two years, so to finally see them was amazing! It was way better than I thought it would be.
Overheard in the Crowd: "I LOVE TOOL!"
Random Notebook Dump: To the "street meat" vendors out side of concert venues: $5 is too expensive for a bacon wrapped hot dog, when you can get a full meal at In-N-Out for the same price.