Rodrigo Y Gabriela graced San Francisco with a passionate performance at the Nob Hill Masonic Center on Tuesday night.
The stage was dimly lit with giant props that looked like brick walls placed strategically in front of a giant projection screen. Rage Against the Machine and Tool were blasting through the speakers as fans eagerly Rodrigo Y Gabriela to take the stage—intro music one might not expect for an acoustic, instrumental group, but the norm for a duo that started out in Mexico City playing flamenco Metallica and Megadeath covers.
The duo took the stage to roaring applause, playing an intro that led into the song “Hanuman,” the first track from their album 11:11. Gabriela played fast flamenco style acoustic guitar, her hand alternating tasks of erratic strumming, to drumming the body of her guitar. Rodrigo played the lead as people clapped along to the beat of their songs. You can hear every strum of the rhythm guitar and solos that speak like lyrics as the duo picks through flamenco, rock ‘n’ roll and jazz licks.
The reason for this tour was to support new material, which was mixed into the set list with a handful of songs from their album 11:11.
Gabriela explained their involvement in soundtracks like Puss and Boots and Pirates of the Caribbean, and admitted to being a little withdrawn at times, “sometimes we live in our own world, and we are lunatics.”
During the set each had a solo performance, showing the differences in their styles and their individual abilities. During Rodrigo’s solo, he joked, “I feel like a fucking professor,” playfully mocking the venue’s setting—a seated auditorium that sits among some of San Francisco’s most expensive real estate.
The two made jokes, lightening the mood. They didn’t appear to take themselves too seriously and just had fun.
During the set, images of them playing guitar projected behind them, with small camera devices placed on the heads of their guitars, illuminating the intricacies of their music. They also had an Alex Grey-like image of an anatomical human projected on the screen during one a song.
The crowd especially enjoyed songs “Diablo Rojo” from their self-titled album, and “Santo Domingo,” from 11:11.
Nearing the end of their set, a few people become fidgety, looking for their chance to flee their seats and dance. The got their chance during the band’s encore song “Tamacun,” when the duo urged the crowd to dance. The crowd was quickly on its feet and clapping while Rodrigo Y Gabriella hovered above them doling out one last shot flawlessly guitar work.
(Photo Credit: Greg Washburn)