Rodrigo Y Gabriela. I’d been hearing their names for years and probably like many of you, dismissed them thinking that instrumental acoustic guitar music wasn’t quite my thing. Then last week, upon my return from a 50 mile bike ride in Mexico (and mere hours before whatever was in that water caught up with me…) and in the perfect Cinco de Mayo mood, I got to see them live. And it changed everything I thought I knew about instrumental acoustic guitar music.
KCRW hosts these “Apogee Sessions” in recording studio in Santa Monica and it is an amazingly intimate setting to see music. I’d been lucky enough to see Vampire Weekend, Cold Ward Kids and Airborne Toxic Event there so wasn’t going to risk missing another great show. It was everything that the hype had promised.
Rodrigo and Gabriela are long time friends from growing up in Mexico and their guitars spoke and danced between each other like nothing I’d ever seen. The music itself is endlessly restless, shifting gears and genres multiple times in a song. They touch on all their influences, even giving their acoustic guitars some serious metal thrashing. Bt watching their fingers make all those sounds up close it something truly magical. I would highly recommend their live to show anyone. Although, you may not get the very special cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” that we got as encore. And you certainly wont get me singing along from the back of the room! (Relax, everyone else was singing too…)
Catch the whole set and interview tomorrow morning May 14th on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic.
Rodrigo Y Gabriela’s new album 9 Dead Alive is out now.