Rodrigo Y Gabriela with Blair Dunlop
Enmore Theatre, Sydney 15/03/18
Review: Brendan Delavere | Photos: Kim Rudner
A balmy Thursday evening in Enmore, you would be forgiven to think it was a Saturday as the streets were packed stretching either side of the Enmore Theatre. People of all walks of life and musical backgrounds were gathered to witness the musical prowess of Latin duo Rodrigo Y Gabriela.
Warming up the quickly filling room in more ways than one, English crooner and definite heart-throb Blair Dunlop. The charming delivery of his brand of offbeat folk tunes had the crowd silent, hanging on every sweet word whispered.
"Spices From The East", as Blair put it, through a cheeky grin, "it’s a song about cooking". Hit single "Sweet On You" garnered a raucous response, especially from the female portion of the crowd.
Not inclined to just come onstage and play as other support acts might, Blair shared some playful banter with the crowd saying, “thanks for coming down early, even if it is just to get a good spot for Rod and Gab”.
Taking some time out from recording their sixth studio album, their first in more than four years, the absolutely amazing and delightful duo Rodrigo y Gabriela graced the stage of the Enmore Theatre.
Walking on to the stage to a soundtrack of Alice In Chains and Tool, the couple wasted no time, tearing into the mesmerising "Torito". The musical prowess we would be treated to for the next 90 minutes was nothing short of spellbinding. Without skipping a beat the set flowed into "The Russian Messenger" and "Savitri", all songs becoming one twisting tale. On this, their seventh trip down under, taking a moment to breathe, Rodrigo exclaimed that when the offer came through they were “more than happy to take a business trip to visit us all”.
Seconds later the crowd, clapping along as one to the ripping "Diablo Rojo" and their first cover of the night, "Orion" by “composer James Hetfield” as Gabriela so eloquently put it. It was their early single "Tamacun" that had the crowd clapping and hollering along, the back and forth, duelling acoustic guitars by the two maestros on stage had punters eager for more.
Without a barrier in place, the floor was full right up to the stage, making this show all the more intimate. Reminding us once more that new music is on its way, but first they would play some old tunes, in the way of their cover of Rage Against The Machine's "Killing In The Name". As a crowd of all ages, many knew the song, many also missed the first vocal cue, though none missed the final refrain. The audience as one yelling “f*** you I won’t do what you tell me”.
Returning to the stage moments later, they began the first of four songs in the encore. The toe tapping, all clapping "Hanaman". Giving us a thank you speech reminiscent of the Oscars, Gabriela promised they would return next year if not sooner.
Closing with "The Soundmaker", the entire audience on their feet for a standing ovation. It doesn’t matter whether you listen to jazz, rock or even metal, this melding of styles goes to show there are no boundaries in music, it’s all about creating something that brings people together, even just for one night.