Date: July 9, 2013
City: San Francisco, CA
Venue: Nob Hill Masonic
Artist: Rodrigo y Gabriela
Opening Act(s): Alex Wilson
Rodrigo y Gabriela are incredibly talented acoustic guitarists from Mexico. Their style of play is very fast, loud and hard. I was first introduced to them when they performed on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and was very impressed. I tend to prefer songs with lyrics so that I can sing along. Rodrigo y Gabriela’s songs have no words. Their music is literally just them playing the hell out of their guitars. Their talented performance on “The Tonight Show” drew me in and I decided that I needed to see them live one day.
The show started with Rodrigo y Gabriela sitting down on what was made to look like brick walls. They then worked their way around the stage even playing to those of us in the side stage seats. It was great to have an opportunity to see how they played their guitars. My seat was on the side the Gabriela favored. She is such an enthusiastic performer. You could tell that she really enjoyed what she was doing. She would even jump up and down as she played. I have no idea how she managed to do that without missing a note.
I wish that I could have seen Rodrigo play more closely. He was predominantly on the opposite side of the stage from where I was sitting so I didn’t get a chance to see his finger work on the guitar. There were cameras on the head stock of each their guitars that would project the images of them playing on the screen behind them to allow us to see them play as well. Even with the cameras and how they worked the stage, sitting in a seat that faced center stage would have been a much better angle to see both of their styles of play side by side. While they each have their own style they mix very well together.
They took turns speaking to the crowd as their guitars were being tuned. Not only are they incredibly talented, they are very down to earth. Gabriela talked about how they had been working with the Cuban orchestra and contributed to a few soundtracks like “Puss in Boots”. Rodrigo joked about looking like a professor as he walked around the stage with one hand in his pocket as if he was giving a lecture. They both talked about how they are excited to be writing new songs and getting back into the studio to record a full album later this year.
Their songs are very upbeat and infectious. They play with such enthusiasm that the audience didn’t need much encouragement to get up to dance and clap along. Rodrigo y Gabriela should be touring to support a new album next year. If they come to your area I highly recommend seeing them.
Alex Wilson, a pianist and composer that worked with Rodrigo y Gabriela when they worked with the C.U.B.A., A 13-piece Cuban orchestra opened. I didn’t care for his performance. It was either too mellow or it sounded like he was just pounding on the keys instead of playing them. He came on stage during Rodrigo y Gabriela’s set to perform one song with them. I didn’t feel that it really added anything.