Rodrigo y Gabriela at the Roundhouse
Rodrigo Sánchez and Gabriela Quintero started out their European career busking on the main streets of Dublin, and have been enchanting a global audience with their original compositions, inspired covers of classic rock and wide-ranging film scores ever since. Taking shelter from a mid-spring flash-storm under the gentle sunset halogens of the Camden Roundhouse, an enraptured crowd was treated to the first live performance of new record In Between Thoughts… A New World – a heady, soulful exposition of the duo’s strings-centred rhythmic mastery.
The atmosphere was cinematic, the fingerwork faultless. Tracks like The Eye That Catches the Dream’ and Egoland were both exhilarating and ornately wrought in their production, though, at times, the additional strings, synths and percussion of the backing track that accompanied the performers muted the lead guitars. Rodrigo y Gabriela are rightly celebrated as composers, but they are just as luminous as musicians – a highlight of the set is a pared-back, acoustic-heavy solo piece performed by Quintero, evoking the style that brought listeners to their first records: unflinchingly experimental, never hesitating. By the time a much-demanded encore rolls around, a previously hushed, even reverent crowd welcomes Quintero’s invitation to “dance – or do crazy things”, matching the artists’ energy as they closed the concert with a nod to more classical flamenco in Hanuman and Tamacun.
In Between Thoughts… A New World, which they’ll be touring in the upcoming months, offers another expansive lens to a kaleidoscopic repertoire; make no mistake, these two are consummate professionals. While Rodrigo y Gabriela encourage a welcoming intimacy at their shows, there is nothing casual about their work – the artists’ decades of collaboration have brought them not so much a repeated familiarity as an uncontrived fluency. One gets the impression that their compositions take new directions each time they are rehearsed, each live performance thereby becoming a one-night-only affair. And these new songs – in such practiced, practiced hands – are made for the stage.
Photos: Virginie Viche
For further information and future events visit Rodrigo y Gabriela’s website here.
Watch the video for The Eye That Catches the Dream here: