I went to the KCRW Sounds Eclectic concert last night at the Gibson Ampitheatre in Universal City, an entertainment complex that sprouted up around Universal Studios sometime since my last visit when I was just a wee lad. The lineup went:
Cold War Kids
Rodrigo Y Gabriela
Travis (this year's unannounced guest)
Each group played about 7 tunes or so, a format that seems to encourage artists to play the biggest 2 or 3 new tunes off of their latest album plus a retrospective of their greatest hits.
The group that got the largest ovation was the Mexican acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo Y Gabriela. They were electrifying. You can hear samples at their Myspace page (try "Diablo Rojo"), but this is one group you have to see live. If you have speakers worth a damn, compressed audio won't do justice to their sound, and seeing their fingers and hands working into a frenzied blur will drop your jaw.
The propulsive pace of their first song got everyone's heads and feet tapping, and then they wove in a sweet cover of "Stairway to Heaven" that brought a hush down across the crowd. At one moment they even snuck in the opening cue from Metallica's "Enter Sandman"; it was there, a subtle flourish, and then they were on to the next bit. Not only is the music good, but they've got a flair and a sense of showmanship that really works. You don't have to take my word for it; more credible music names have already paid their tribute.
Here's a link to their latest album. A CD this good deserves a mongo image: