3rd CLUAS.com gig, Isaac Butt, Mar 5 2000
Featuring 'Rodrigo y Gabriela', Tandem Felix & Nu Root Rhythm
'Rodrigo y Gabriela' were instantly recognisable from last summer's stint as buskers of Mexican music and Latin-flavoured Western covers that always drew a sizably appreciative audience on Grafton St. Since then they have successfully moved their music into coffee houses and pubs. Tonight they were accompanied by Andy on electric bass and Graham on Darbouka. With their duel acoustic guitar interplay, Rodrigo and Gabriela truly redefine the term 'rhythm guitar.' When not playing a lead riff, their picking hands make continuous whirling frenzies over the strings, their fingers flying in all directions. Their short, four-song set included one cover--a Latin version of Dave Brubeck's 'Take Five.' If you like a feel of romance in a lively but relaxing form of music, then this is your group.
The lead singer from the next group, Tandem Felix, wore a t-shirt inscribed with 'You don't know me.' He's right. They are quite young, their rock music is a bit raw at times, and it's obvious they're lacking the stage experience of the other two acts. That said, they exhibited more energy and enthusiasm than many bands I've seen playing the Point. The most interesting of their eight songs tonight was 'All the Time' that displayed a strange combination of continuous wah-wah guitar overlaying a hoe-down feel on vox, drums and bass. The band's main strength was their musical introductions which improved with each subsequent song. Their set ended with The Who's 'My Generation.' Though energetic, it's obvious this generation doesn't trash their instruments.
Last up tonight was Nu Root Rhythm providing a well-practiced and highly professional mixture of funk and jazz. If men were as smooth as this band, they'd never have to utilise pick-up lines again to get a girl. Their first two instrumental songs highlighted the polished sax work, skilled electric guitar and bass playing, and the lively interaction of the kit drummer and congo/bongo player. This music urges you to either hit the dancefloor or curl up and cuddle the one you love. For 'Overflow' the sultry, silky vocals of Nicky Cavanaugh were added to the already solid, slick and stylish output of the band to an amazing effect. It was probably intentional to give the band time by themselves before Nicky's entrance as her blindingly strong stage presence and seductive vocals quickly stole the spotlight. After just one more song, 'Dignity,' Nicky left the room as fast as she'd appeared. Later on, a band member couldn't tell me whether her name is spelled with a 'y' or 'i' further adding to her mystic. Audience body parts were soon boogying again even while seated as the band continued without Nicky for two more songs including a cover of the rhythm section showcase 'Wipe Out.' Impressive!
All in all, a wonderfully and enjoyably eclectic line-up. I headed home with the music still going through my head and the beats still flowing through my veins.
The next CLUAS.com gig takes place in the Isaac Butt (Store Street, Dublin) on Sunday April 2nd, 2000.