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Rodrigo y Gabriela live at the Fisheries Field, Galway
I have no idea what most of their song titles are, but it hardly matters. It’s just 90 minutes of sheer guitar genius.
Olaf Tyaransen, 17 Aug 2006
First off, humblest apologies to Declan O’Rourke. For reasons far too mundane to explain here (goddamn tardy weed dealers!), your Hot Press correspondent didn’t arrive at the Arts Festival’s Big Top until O’Rourke was closing his support set.
Jesus! Hands up if you use Right Guard! About three thousand extremely sweaty people were collectively punching the air and singing every word. From the smell of things, he didn’t just warm up the audience, he practically microwaved them.
Within minutes of Rodrigo Y Gabriela coming on though, the fire ignited by O’Rourke was totally quenched. Seriously, I’ve heard lousy guitar playing before, but these guys are just taking the piss. You could take two of the chanciest drunken buskers currently lining Galway’s streets, and they’d do a far better job than these poxy pretenders. Never before in the history of music has so much critical praise and acclaim been poured on such an unworthy duo.
Of course, not a word of that is true. Being an ambitious member of the Irish media, I’m just attempting to make a name for myself by having a pop at something that’s undeniably brilliant. Actually, if there’s any criticism to be made, it’s in their shocking overuse of the word ‘fuck’: “Fuckin’ hello... eez great to fuckin’ be here... fuckin’ bus fuckin’ broke fuckin’ down on de way ear... Guinness!... ha-ha!... fuck!... fuck!... yeah!.. we fuckin’ love you Irish fuckers!... fuckin’ brilliant!!... ah, fuck, let’s fuckin’ play something... fuck...okay... ear we fuckin’ go!”
And that was just Gabriela.
The moment they start to play, though, they own the night. If writing about music is like dancing about architecture, these two Mexican maestros render me redundant. Watching RYG do their thing – plucking and strumming those strings at impossible speeds and banging the shit out of their instruments – well, you just know you’re never quite going to properly capture the skill and excitement in words.
I have no idea what most of their song titles are, but it hardly matters. It’s just 90 minutes of sheer guitar genius. Speaking of genius, they do ‘Wish You Were Here’ in honour of the recently deceased Syd Barrett, and it’s a touching moment when the audience sings the words. They encore with ‘Stairway To Heaven’ and, sounding like their own original composition, it’s actually heavenly. At one point Gabriela tells us that Rodrigo’s mother is present, and it’s the very first time she’s seen them play. She sure picked a good one.
When they announce that they’re heading to the States shortly, the crowd starts to boo. It was hard to tell if it was anti-war sentiment, or just the realisation that once this dynamite duo explode onto the American stage, we’ll rarely if ever see them again.
Probably a bit of fuckin’ both, as they might say themselves.
Photo: Jamie Howard