Me Gusta Rodrigo Y Gabriela
I like lyrics. No, I love them: I'm a lyrics junkie. So it's not very often that I'm captivated by music alone. Rodrigo Y Gabriela, however, have that power over me, and seeing them perform live took it from the perfect office music, to marvel. And when am I not looking for an excuse to go to Wolf Trap? The grounds are beautiful, the acoustics awesome, the staff warm and friendly...
The opener, Xavier Rudd, had a unique vibe, one that I didn't necessarily get, but didn't necessarily hate. At one point he pulled out a Paul Simon sound, throwing off my disdain for what otherwise was a kind of long, meandering, world music set. The use of the digeridoo and drums was impressive, but for the most part he failed to captivate my short attention span. It was a weeknight, I was tired.
My co-pilot was surprised at the sparse stage set-up for Rod y Gab, bandless and mostly bare; since I'd seen them before at a festival (for like, five minutes), though, I wasn't. Then the duo strode on stage like stagehands, PAs, people crossing the stage who happened to have guitars on their backs. Once they sat and took to playing, however, it was clear they were the main event.
Naming song names won't give you a sense of the show, unless you are a devotee. Rather, it was the dynamic of the duo--their styles, talent, body language, performance personas--that really set them apart from the other shows I've seen lately. Gabriela is the clear raw talent, and it takes a good seat to be able to see the interesting technique she implements; it appears as if she strums with her two middle fingers, wildly, frantically, and beautifully. Rodrigo, on the other hand, may appear less talented, but he seems to be the rail that keeps the train on track--following Gabriela around the stage, getting the audience involved, joining her after she starts a song... and his solo proved he is anything but secondary.
I can't hear the heavy metal influence that Rodrigo Y Gabriela keep touting. Granted, I'm not much of a metal fan, but it sure sounds like Spanish guitar to me. And categorizing their brand as anything other than lovely, crazy good, awesome music and musicianship does a total disservice to what they are doing.
Peep the scorecard for more info. And check out Wolf Trap's FB Page for some pics (I took mine with film so I need a few days to develop).