Thrilling mastery and athletic skill on display
RODRIGO y Gabriela first met in their native Mexico as guitarists for a thrash metal band, but soon grew frustrated with the artistic limits of the music and the country, so moved to Ireland where they received their first break opening for other artists such as Damien Rice and David Gray.
True international success came with the release of their self-titled album in 2006, with high profile acoustic covers of bands such as Metallica and, especially, Led Zeppelin. Since then, they have toured the world and released a number of albums, including this year's Area 52, which saw them accompanied by a 13-piece Cuban orchestra.
The duo have also been on an extensive world tour this year, with England the last stop in their European leg before they jet off to Japan and Australia. A capacity crowd in Bristol met them with enormous enthusiasm at the Colston Hall this past Tuesday night.
It's hard to categorise Rodrigo y Gabriela's music as it encompasses all manner of different styles. Their early background in heavy metal is clearly evident with songs that feature grinding, chugging guitar chords, but they can also move effortlessly from that to more traditional salsa and jazz music, which came to the fore with the accompaniment of pianist Alex Wilson who matched them step for step in terms of musical accomplishment.
Despite the variety of music on display, what is perhaps most impressive is that the duo perform it all entirely on acoustic guitars, wringing out all manner of noises, especially as percussion instruments which frequently give the music its thumping rhythm and drive.
Rodrigo and Gabriela perform with a muscular, athletic skill that's a marvel to behold and cameras attached to their guitars enabled close views of their mastery that was projected behind them.
Genuinely thrilling, monumentally impressive, and filled with an utter joy for music, Rodrigo y Gabriela are second to none.