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on 5 January 2009
Rodrigo and Gabriela are a force of nature, a force to be reckoned with, a tour de force, they are the dark side of the force, they are... well, forceful's the wrong word. While they are certainly powerful, they are also sublime.

For the uninitiated, this Mexican duo have carved out a niche for themselves by playing what many describe (inaccurately in my opinion) as 'Mariachi Metal'. This demeans what they have actually done though, which is bring a breath of fresh air and an immediacy to acoustic guitar music which I have never experienced before.

This album, recorded live in Tokyo, is possibly the best expression of their phenomenal talent yet released (although I really would like a new studio album - please?). Gabriela manages to make her guitar sound like an entire rhythm section for Rodrigo's ultra-fast melody lines: her guitar booms like bass a drum, rattles like a snare and seems to become both guitar and bass at the same time, all of which combine to deliver high-octane, complex rhythms which at times one simply cannot believe is coming from only one instrument. The accompanying DVD (worth the asking price alone!) shows off her style best - her hand is oftentimes a blur across the strings. I find myself wishing they'd filmed it with one of those hummingbird cameras they use for nature documentaries, just so I could slow it down and make sense of what she's doing (as a guitarist of fifteen years, this girl showed me how talentless I really am!). If this was a Gabriela solo show, I'd still buy it.

But it's not a solo performance, and Rodrigo is every bit as talented (but in a completely different style) as Gabriela. His fast picking style nods to his love of metal, but with his choice of notes he creates something new, not just 'metal on an acoustic', but a subtle blend of his cultural background and contemporary leanings. His melody lines perfectly complement Gabriela's syncopated rhythms and can take a song from a whisper to a scream with a deft expertise and seamless expression.

I played the accompanying DVD to some friends I had over recently - all hardened metallers who would never usually listen to this type of music. As one they were entranced and transfixed. The only sounds they made were laughs of disbelief at the sheer awesome spectacle of it all. One said after that it was an almost religious experience - high praise from a dedicated atheist.

But lest you think that this album is just a technical exercise, a 'look how fast we can play' kind of thing, let me reassure you that there is real songwriting creativity at work here, an emotional character that hypnotises as much as it amazes. The reworkings of their album material for the stage are brilliant, and in many cases surpass their studio equivalents.

A slice of fried gold.
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on 26 November 2008
Rodrigo y Gabriela, these are two of the most exiting and awesome acoustic guitarists around.Their music is so wide ranging,and for just two the sound they create is quite simply stunning.From the main stage at Glastonbury where they went down a storm to this set recorded in Japan on a recent tour.Material includes Dave Brubeck's Take Five (hard enough for a quartet let alone just two),Led Zeps Stairway To Heaven (you've really got to hear it to believe it).Their music is melodic at times,very firey at other times.Gabriela beating out rhythms on her guitars body while Rodrigo plays anything from rock to spanish to jazz and pretty well all points in between.The great bonus of this truly wonderful CD is the bonus DVD which contains five of the album tracks and lasts a little over 30 mins.Here you can see the truly awesomeness of their performance for yourself.THIS REALLY IS A WONDERFUL ALBUM by two quite unique and stunning musicians,they enjoy playing and show it and the audience get caught up in the life and energy of it all.This set will go down for me as the best live album of the year,followed by John Mayers live double album and Joe Bonamassa's live set.But this set is one that is full of wonderful music to play again and again,by artists who truly putting genius back into popular music,DON'T WAIT GET IT AND GIVE A FRIEND A COPY FOR CHRISTMAS it's fabulous.Buy this one and soon you'll be getting the rest of their albums as well.
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on 29 April 2012
This pair of ace mexican guitarists marries rock with flamenco in stunning performance.Lively and enthusiastic. If there is a criticism its that, as all the tracks are acoustic and the the guitar playing is so much to the forefront, it all becomes a little relentless, a bit like an album of all slide guitar would be . One starts to get a sense that all the tunes are the same - although they are not.
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on 21 August 2010
I was fortunate enough to see these two on the 11:11 tour in England last year. It was great, but I have to say I prefer this set of tunes. As usual though, it's rock-flamenco turned up to 11 and guaranteed to get you going. A great pair of performers who obviously enjoy sharing their world-class talent for composing and performing! Plus the odd cover helps the new listener get in to it all.
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on 3 September 2009
Really fantastic acoustic guitar music must be listened too to be believed. The DVD covers the same ground as the CD so there is no new material but it is hypnotic watching them play.
Only disappointment for me was the DVD does not cover the entire concert and `Stairway' and other you want to see are not there. Still worth it anyway now it catch them live.
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on 22 April 2010
Rod & Gab are out of this world. If this doesn't make you want to get up and dance then nothing will. Their energy is relentless and their mastery of their guitars superb. What an incredible duo. Buy it now and enjoy the summer with these tunes racing through your heart. My girl can't stop moving.
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on 21 October 2009
Came across them on utube by accident and was enthralled by the quality of their music just stunning.Love their version of stairway to heaven of course.I was looking for spanish composer rodrigo.
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on 8 March 2015
Exhilarating listening. I used to play the guitar. R Y G elevate the instrument to a entirely different level.
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on 23 January 2016
Their live performance is even more interesting than their studio albums.
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excellent
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