Rodrigo y Gabriela, Under the Bridge, gig review: Fiery flamenco doused in heavy metal

The Mexican outfit delivered an impassioned fusion of genres at this one-off gig

Jochan Embley
Tuesday 26 April 2016 16:34 BST
Dynamic duo: Gabriela Quintero and Rodrigo Sanchez
Dynamic duo: Gabriela Quintero and Rodrigo Sanchez

“This is a very special set-up”, Rodrigo Sánchez said as he surveyed the 500-strong crowd in West London’s Under the Bridge. It was a one-off gig to celebrate the venue’s fifth birthday, and the Mexican duo could have easily sold out a venue at least 10 times this size.

But this was how Rodrigo y Gabriela’s frenetic, impassioned brand of flamenco rock, rooted in heavy metal, is meant to be experienced: intimately. At times, it was hard to believe this sheer rhythmic force all came from just two guitars. It was especially so on “Diablo Rojo”, which saw the duo showcase the finest of their skills. Gabriela Quintero’s percussive style of guitar playing was incredible – right hand flying everywhere, slapping the strings and knocking her knuckles against the instrument’s body – while Rodrigo’s lead guitar was intricate, ferocious and unerring. The pair had an almost telepathic understanding, developed over decades of playing together, as they moved through their original material and covers, such as Metallica’s “Orion”, rarely missing a single beat.

In fact, the only time they stumbled was on a semi-serious flamenco cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” (admittedly, one of the most un-flamenco songs ever), but they saw it through thanks to their on-stage charm.

Two new, as-yet-unnamed songs set for next year’s album were played. Both brought about a rare sight indeed: Rodrigo singing. His fulsome voice was a pleasant surprise, though. “Tamacun”, the duo’s most famous song and a sure-fire crowd pleaser, was a typically fiery end to a breathless night.

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