Rodrigo y Gabriela live in London

I was at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Wednesday night to see Rodrigo y Gabriela. I saw them three years ago supporting Muse at Wembley stadium, and I was impressed, but in such a cavernous arena and as the first of several support acts, it was always going to be hard for them.

But in a smaller venue, and as the headline act, they were stunning. A friend of mine saw them recently and he was seriously impressed, even though he had never heard of them before the show. I can understand why. Not only are they incredibly talented guitarists, they are friendly, approachable, charming with their on-stage banter – even in slightly broken English – and not just your average run-of-the-mill Latin guitarists. These guys seriously know how to play, but also how to charm an audience.

After performing two songs, Rodrigo announced that this was the setlist finished for the evening. They now had no fixed plan and would play whatever songs felt right, or whatever the crowd called for. Immediately a shout went out from the crowd and the duo responded. It was a fantastic way to organise the show, and with 5 nights this week in London it would be possible to come and see them several times in a week with the show feeling fresh each time.

Their diverse influences even take in a significant amount of metal, and Rodrigo performed a long solo cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ with breaks from the main riff to take in some Slayer, Metallica, Pantera… etc… all on acoustic guitar.

Alex Skolnick (of thrash legends Testament) provides the support and is worth arriving early for – he also joined Rodrigo and Gabriela for a song featuring two acoustic and one electric guitars…

Including tonight, they are in London for three more shows. Make sure you see them because this is the last tour before a long rest and recording the next album…

Feeder @ Shepherd's Bush Oct 28 2010

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