On a few Tuesday nights back, Rodrigo y Gabriela brought their mind-blowing flamenco-style rock songs to The Paramount Theater in Seattle for the first night of their North American tour to promote their new album, Area 52, for which they teamed up with the 13-piece orchestra C.U.B.A. to produce remixes of their previous songs.
They have taken their sound and made it into something even more complex, where old favorites like “Diablo Rojo” and “Tamacun” explode with a new fulness and energy. C.U.B.A. adds volume and depth to the fantastic duo, but doesn’t overpower them. Their magnificent finger-picking and hand percussion still stand out. And they had so much energy, laughing and jumping around the stage, which Gabriela pointed out as the excitement of the first night of a tour. But when they played, rather than sit on chairs, they sat on their amps, lending an intimate practice-space feel to the layout of the stage. The duo even burned incense. The bassist scatted on an entire song, and the pianist ended Juan Loco with an elaborate solo to rival some of Rodrigo’s faster finger-picking.
Each instrumentalist in C.U.B.A. is truly a Rodrigo or Gabriela of their own instrument, and this combination of artistic forces is an exciting new direction for the band.