APRIL 7 | HOLLYWOOD—Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero are the ultimate crossover artists, with impeccable credits stamped in a bounty of such outlets as television, film, and radio. Their chart-topping record releases have even beat out Arctic Monkeys and Johnny Cash for the top seat in the Irish album charts. The Mexico City natives, who left their hometown to travel to Europe and perfect their sound, eventually settled in Ireland, where their musicianship was nurtured into full bloom in the early 2000s. In 2011, the duo wrote and recorded music for the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and they were also featured in the DreamWorks movie Puss in Boots. 2011 was a year of great change for Rod y Gab, in which they were not only involved in two blockbuster movies, but they also began recording their next full length, Area 52, with a 13-piece Cuban orchestra that included special guest sitar player Anoushka Shankar (daughter of world-famous Ravi Shankar).
They are undoubtedly one of the great musical acts to transcend generic commercial appreciation and be accepted into the world of “music for music’s sake,” contradicting the category of “music for commercial’s sake.” To further exemplify their status, the duo performed to a packed Palladium—with upper and lower levels soaring with excitement. Gasps of warm, alcohol-laced breath filled the venue as the night moved toward in-the-pocket rhythms married with vocal-like melodies.
Backed by the Cuban ensemble titled “C.U.B.A.,” Rod y Gab have had mixed reviews throughout the media world concerning their collaborations with a band, but tonight’s event must have silenced the critics. The set was amazing and separated into three parts: the first and third sections were a full band setting with a small horn section, while the middle portion was just the intimate duo, providing long-time fans with the comfort of familiarity. Tonight was an infallible representation of the excitement and multitude of aural colors that can be conveyed when the breadth of instrumentation is exercised. Although the timbres of the instruments are notably traditional, the group’s influences are voiced throughout the articulation of their instruments. Their set was much more rooted in traditional styles than previous periods, but even though Rod y Gab didn’t play the metal and rock/pop songs that soared them to international fame, the metal influence were still very present in their technique and song structure.
In the midst of their enduring and successful career, the duo glowed with gratitude, as an unspoken conversation between the band and audience lifted the energy to the night’s peak. The last portion of the set included John Tempest from White Zombie on drums, and it held the energy at a level that only the metal that influenced Rod y Gab could produce. They have accomplished feats that any musician, much less metalheads, could only dream to achieve. Their persistence and musical sensibilities will only project them to astronomical levels in the entertainment world. This is still just the beginning of a very historical moment in musical history.