Rodrigo y Gabriela, Munich Backstage Werk, 25th November 2011.
Rodrigo Sanches y Gabriela Quintero arrived on stage right on time at Backstage Werk, to warm up the cold evening atmosphere on the 25th November. The German crowd responded enthusiasticly and so set the stage for the evening.
The two fast fingered Mexicans, with a music style hard to describe or even put a label on, presented songs from their latest album '11:11', which they have been promoting during their tour, which has already lasted two years.
R y G appeared very casual and genuine on stage, yet their plan definitely didn't seem to include even so much as a second of relaxation. The setlist consisted of tracks from their self-titled album 'Rodrigo y Gabriela' (released early 2006) as well as most of the songs from the album 11:11 (2009), a clever record of 11 pieces dedicated to 11 rock musicians who contributed to RyG's distinct sound.
"Hanuman", "Diablo Rojo", the intros of Metallica's "Orion" and Led Leppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" were a few highlights of the music fusion played in Munich - a unique combination of world and rock sounds, streamed out from their acoustic guitars.
They made it clear to all that we shouldn't expect to hear some flamenco, and "don't get me wrong", Rodrigo said to the crowds on his mic, "we love flamenco, it's just that we come from a heavy metal background".
During the concert, R y G made a few lyrical pauses to say some words on their tour experiences and plans, interacting with the crowd with a sort of shyness and intimacy which made us like them even more.
The band started their musical path as teenagers, a little angry and roughly playing in a trash metal band called Tierra Acida in Mexico City, which didnt last long. The two young musicians decided to risk it all, bought their one way ticket to Europe and ended up in cold, wet Dublin with 1000 euros to share, their guitars and a few words in English. They lived there for a while, busking on the streets of the Irish capital. That was in 1999, and it wasn't until 2003 that they returned to Dublin (after travelling around Europe cities, including Copenhagen and Barcelona) to provide support for a friend's gigs. Later on they released "re-Foc", and a year later, "Live Manchester And Dublin," which both launched them onto the world music stage.
Their story is classic. Their music is rock structured, with Latin harmonies, rhythms and improvisation to provoke the crowd. This wasnt their first gig in Munich (they were here a few years ago) and they promised it wouldnt be their last. Their solos were more than impressive, whipping the audience in Backstage Werk out of control. It was the feeling of a proper rock concert, with a sound of strong flamenco. Rodrigo was more extreme in his playing, from a raging speed to a sensual slowness. Gabriela was rhythmic, intensely drumming the guitar's body, and cursing "we fucking love you" with a cute Spanish accent. Their reworks are inspired by musicians such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Queen, Metallica, Slayer and Pantera. And while playing "Santo Domingo", "Buster Voodoo" and "Atman", one thing was absolutely clear they were having fun on stage, provoking the audience and being nothing less than mesmerizing.
By the end of the 2 hour-concert, I am pretty sure we all had the same thoughts: "was that all?" Well, the good news is, it's going to happen again next year (they mentioned March 2012) when R y G will appear on stage with their fourth brand new album called Area 52 an experiment with the unknown, featuring nine tracks from their discography, re-arranged and played with a Cuban orchestra known as C.U.B.A.
And we trust them, as they seem to know well how to master the unknown and create masterpieces.