If you’ve never seen Rodrigo y Gabriela live, you must immediately put it at the top of your music bucket list.
I first saw the dynamic duo and their dueling guitars at a KCRW benefit show in 2007. It was still early in their career but they absolutely slayed. It was a revelation.
They got a standing ovation and folks couldn’t stop talking about it. Now, 7 years later, they just released their 5th studio album “9 Dead Alive” and play sold out shows across the globe.
For their third appearance on Morning Becomes Eclectic, they returned to play a live set in front of an enthusiastic live audience as part of KCRW’s Apogee Sessions series, with Gabriela remarking about how important KCRW’s support has been to the band’s career.
It was a love fest to be sure but, more than that, a celebration of music at it’s most simplistic AND dynamic.
Two people. Two guitars. 20 fingers completely commanding your attention through a series of instrumental songs that integrated tango, classical guitar and, most importantly, metal.
When they got in their metal “poses”, shredding on their guitars, is when they seemed their happiest on stage.
Gabriela commented that she absorbed a lot of musical influences growing up and Rodrigo reflected on hearing Metallica for the first time when he was 9 years old, thanks to his older brother. He recognized its power even though he spoke no English. He’d been listening to Motley Crew and immediately knew metal was a lot more “complicated”.
The transition from hair metal to real metal was made.
They met as teenagers in Mexico City but it was in Ireland where they was built a cult following as street musicians playing cover songs and formed their own unique style.
The pair have incredible chemistry and, when asked about their common bond, both talked about being obsessive, which is not surprising given their precision.
They fed off the audience’s energy and returned it. The encore included a cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” with the entire audience singing along. It was a magic moment.
It was also the only song with words the entire night and, after the experience we all shared, it seemed a fitting way to end it. (I will say, he first started playing Stone Temple Pilot’s “Plush” and, though I’m sure less of the audience knew it, I would’ve loved to hear how that one played out!)
Their new album and album title — “9 Dead Alive” –was inspired by people who are no longer with us but changed the world forever through their work (except for the song “Torito“, which Gabriela dedicated to the wonders of nature, joking about it being a hippie song.)
They had the whole crowd wrapped around their finger through the peaks and valleys in their music and sheer mastery of their playing.
It was quite incredible to witness and we will share this session, recorded by producer/mixer Bob Clearmountain, on Morning Becomes Eclectic on May 14.
Rodrigo y Gabriela Live on KCRW – Set List
CREEP [RADIOHEAD COVER] –>
*off the new album “9 Dead Alive”