Wednesday, March 03, 2010


Rodrigo y Gabriela/Alex Skolnick Trio

First things first: Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela doesn't play flamenco. Its mostly acoustic music features a little bit of flamenco, but it's more correct to say that the pair mixes together jazz, metal and global influences. However, Rodrigo y Gabriela's sound is expansive enough to include guest appearances: Its latest album, 11:11, features cameos from smooth jazz duo Strunz & Farah to Testament lead guitarist Alex Skolnick (whose trio is opening the show). The disc features eleven tracks dedicated to its influences, including tango composer Astor Piazzolla, Palestinian group Le Trio Joubran and Pantera's late guitarist, Dimebag Darrell. In performance, "RodGab" is kinetic: Rodrigo Sanchez spins out melodic, occasionally distorted runs as Gabriela Quintero strums forceful chords or beats out lightning-fast rhythms on her guitar's hollow body. This is no "sit quietly and applaud politely" show — even without electricity, it's pure energy.


New Orleans instrumental funk sextet Galactic has built a sterling reputation on the jam-band scene, rocking Bonnaroo, the seagoing Jam Cruise, and many other gatherings of the unwashed. The group's studio albums provide killer backdrops for a fistful of highly regarded guests. The 2007 release, From the Corner to the Block, was a hip-hop effort featuring Bay Area MCs Lyrics Born, Gift of Gab, Lateef the Truth Speaker, and Boots Riley, among others. On its latest effort, Ya-Ka-May, Galactic represents its hometown, past and present. The hard-grooving disc includes contributions from old-schoolers Irma Thomas and Allen Toussaint, as well as Trombone Shorty and the so-called "bounce" rappers Cheeky Blakk and Big Freedia — the last of whom will be at the Fillmore, along with Cyril Neville, when Galactic comes to town on Friday, March 5, and Saturday, March 6.

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