Concert Review: Rodrigo Y Gabriela, April 16, Massey Hall

The last time Rodrigo Y Gabriela played in Toronto, they played the Phoenix. It was a pretty exciting show with a raucous energy. They returned last Monday, and this time the venue was Massey Hall. Their jump to MH is a pretty good indicator of how popular their energetic brand of flamenco-rock has become. This time, they were backed by a capable and talented Cuban band; a bigger sound to accompany a bigger venue.

The Cuban band, subtly named C.U.B.A. added a new dimension to Rod & Gab’s music. Their latest effort is Area 52, which rearranges some older material to fit within a Cuban orchestra. The album is fun, it’s very listenable, and adds an energetic Latin feel. The live show by contrast was a much rockier affair. That being said, it also provided an opportunity for the individual members of C.U.B.A. to show off their chops, and chops they had. The bassist and keys were particularly exceptional, but the whole band just oozed talent.

As much as I love Massey Hall, I’m not entirely sure this was the right venue for the band. Rodrigo Y Gabriela is very much a band that wants its audience on its feet, jumping around, and participating. That energy is something that they feed on and re-direct at the crowd, and it’s difficult to conjure up at a sit down venue. It wasn’t until about two thirds through the set that people got to their feet and and stormed to the front of the stage. That was then the show truly kicked into high gear and they played right up until the last possible minute of the MH curfew. The sustained energy at the end was just amazing.

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Posted on by Mark in Concerts

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