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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Rodrigo y Gabriela

Tonight @ Harley-Davidson Roadhouse, Summerfest, 10 p.m.

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Rodrigo y Gabriela’s 2006 self-titled album debuted at number one on the Irish charts, taking the spot coveted by the UK’s Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay and Gorillaz—each with a then-top 10 album. It came only a few months after Rodrigo (Sanchez) and Gabriela (Quintero) immigrated to Ireland from Mexico City. Take that, European Union Lou Dobs!

Guitar virtuosos who play what might be best described as guitar virtuoso music, Rodrigo y Gabriela are a strange melting pot of music. They have a sound that explains their real life story—an instrumental Flamenco band who were once a heavy metal band, who tempered their style as buskers in Dublin. Rodrigo y Gabriela were versatile enough to be tapped for a Robert Rodriguez soundtrack and a Nightmare Before Christmas tribute album, all before recording what might be the only worthwhile cover of “Stairway to Heaven.”

Making a living as a street performer isn’t easy, especially in a country whose language you don’t speak, especially in a country already supporting one high-profile, soon-to-be big-time busker in soon-to-be-friend Damien Rice. But Rodrigo y Gabriela give the type of performance that you would pay for even if it was totally optional and you just happened to pass them playing in the street, and they parlayed their busking into a international popularity.

Keep a lighter fueled up for “Stairway.”