Rodrigo Y Gabriela @ Shepherds Bush Empire

Rodrigo Y Gabriela.

If I practiced my guitar from now until the day I die I will never, ever, be as good as either of these two. If ever there were some musicians that epitomised ‘genre busting’, it would be these guys. They do things with guitars that are mind bending. They’re particularly known for metal and rock covers having been raised on a teenage diet of thrash metal from the likes of Metallica and Pantera. But then if you listen to a peice like ‘Mr Tang’. it’s something like acoustic guitar dance music – it’s incredible. And they hate being described as flamenco, Spanish or jazz, (so where do you stack the CD in HMV?) Anyway…

Shepherds Bush Empire, great venue for what I thought would be a real intimate little concert. Oh how wrong I was. In a sentence. Great gig, shite audience. They wouldn’t shut up! This sort of music is quite delicate, you have to actually fucking listen. We got in and somehow ended up near what must have been guest list liggers… normal people don’t pay £15 a ticket to stand at the side bar drinking flat beer at £3.50 a pint from a plastic glass and talking about their ‘day’ do they? Do they? So for the first ten minutes all I heard was:

ligger A: Saw Steve at the weekend
ligger B: What?
ligger A: SAW STEVE AT THE WEEKEND!
ligger B: Yeah?
ligger A: Yeah, totally munted.
ligger B: What?
..etc.

It’ll settle down I think.. when it doesn’t I turned around and shout ‘Shut up!’ much to Mrs E’s annoyance. A group of four in front of us wouldn’t shut up either… everytime a they played a cover she had to ask her ex-metal fan boyf who now obviously works in sales or something what the song was everyone was cheering.

There’s a real danger with Rodrigo Y Gabriela that people seem them as some Mike Flowers post modern ironic acoustic lounge cover band duo, all be it talented one’s. So is it metal and rock covers made safe for the over 40s?

In the end all this chatter became too much and we pushed through to the middle where wide-eyed unblinking muso’s where trying to note every chord progression, at least they were listening, but I don’t think I’ve ever been to a gig where the audience has had to go ‘shhhhhh’ when a quite bit comes on.

So the beer bottle Pink Floyd solo was there, which was good, as well as ‘One’ bby Metallica and The Eagles’ Hotel California, and ‘Stairway to Heaven‘. But also things likeTamacun. See they’re ‘how to’ here..

So, bar liggers aside it was a great gig. Go and see them, or but a track from iTunes, or just watch all the stuff on youtube. Honestly, they’re incredible.

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These are my personal views and not those of Channel 4 or the BBC
May 2007
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