I am a big fan of performers who venture outside the proverbial “box”. Those who don’t sound like you would expect, or those who don’t quite fit a given label.
Guitarists Rodrigo Y Gabriela are two such performers. Creative Loafing Tampa called them an “acoustic rock duo“, and that’s about as much as you could say without spending hours having to explain them.
On Sunday, March 21, 2010, they were in Tampa and I was there.
The show at the Ritz Ybor started with rock/jazz band the Alex Skolnick Trio. Longtime metal fans might recognize Alex Skolnick as the lead guitarist of Testament. With the Alex Skolnick Trio, Skolnick has infused his metal roots with a jazz flavor, to include a wicked drummer and a stand-up bass. The results are freakin’ awesome. Here is a video of “Western Sabbath Stomp”, which was one of the first songs they did and probably my favorite.
Now back to Rodrigo Y Gabriela. They may be two of the best guitar players I have ever seen. And I have seen Buddy Guy, Slash, Eric Clapton, Robert Randolph, and Metallica. But comparing Rodrigo Y Gabrielo to any of those would be like comparing Randolph to Metallica. You can’t do it. Rodrigo Y Gabriela have created a style of complex, Spanish-themed, Irish-influenced, metal-based rock so unique, it crosses almost every genre and fanbase.
Rodrigo Y Gabriela’s extent was obvious by the crowd as well, as there were guys in Metallica shirts standing next to folks who looked like music majors or even professors. All to see a band whose big number was a tribute to Dimebag Darrell (who I have seen as well).
(Quick note on the crowd: I am not sure if it was sell-out, but by the end of the show the Ritz Ybor was packed. I think the size of the crowd even surprised the performers, who admitted they didn’t know how well they would be received outside of the major city circuit of New York, LA, Chicago, etc.)
Anyway, although I am sure there will be videos of the Rodrigo Y Gabriela Tampa show on YouTube soon, here they are performing Metallica’s “One” in San Francisco in 2008.
If you get a chance to see them, do so. They get the Jordi Seal of Approval.