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RODRIGO Y GABRIELA @ Astor Theatre gets 7/10

Rodrigo Y Gabriela @ Astor Theatre
w/ Daniel Champagne
Tuesday, March 13, 2018


When instrumentation meets passion, it can make way for an amazing spectacle. Such was the case when it came for the Perth leg of Rodrigo y Gabriela’s world tour at the Astor Theatre, where the art of classical Spanish guitar was held and observed by the crowd in true reverence.

The Mexican duo received nothing but adoration from Perth crowd throughout the entirety of their set; in some ways it showed there was a more deep-seated interest of Latin culture in Perth that stretched way beyond the late night Latin DJ sets found in Northbridge on a Thursday night.

Daniel Champagne

Support came from Daniel Champagne, an Australian folkster who is now based out of Nashville, Tennessee. Despite a name that could be misconceived as that of a male stripper, he delivered a stellar, rapturous performance of blues guitar. The audience was immediately met with thunderous drums from Champagne opening with That’s Why I Still Chase the Sky. Drumming the body of the guitar while simultaneously finger-picking arpeggios made Champagne successfully imitate the presence of a backing band, whilst retaining the emotional quality of a solo performance.

Daniel Champagne

Also ripping out an intense blues number which his dad had taught him as a boy, straining and waning the guitar amidst a fiery, agonising passion, caused one punter to exclaim loudly “you’re Daddy was a monster!” One of the most heartfelt moments of his performance was the story behind Nightingale where he recounted that the song had caused a girl who attended one his shows to declare love to her boyfriend, marry and eventually have a child they named after Champagne, Daniel. At times he made you want to trash a guitar, at others cry your eyes out.

Rodrigo y Gabriela

The wait for Rodrigo y Gabriela was filled with tracks from The Amity Affliction blaring from speakers of the Astor. Known for taking influences from heavy metal, it was probably no surprise that there were a few metalheads hiding in the crowd, being slowly converted to a more classical genre – perhaps there was an ulterior motive. What served the duo’s set so well was the indisputable passion and joy on their faces when they were seen playing together.

Rodrigo y Gabriela

Whilst the two claimed they were playing different songs, the whole set felt like a long-running soundtrack. One moment you felt you sailing on a pirate ship, listening to some Pirates of the Caribbean OST, then in another getting down to some funked out guitar over-layed by roaring Latin chords. Either way, no genre was safe from Rodrigo y Gabriela’s thirst to mix and match to create an impressive, Latin musical pastiche.  

As the night wore on the gig stated to look more like a Latin American fiesta, with punters from back of the venue jumping into the mass crowd of salsa-dancing aficionados. The duo finished with a cover of Rage Against the Machine’s Killing in the Name, then the crowd to decompress via a burrito and a shot of tequila over the road.


Pics by Linda Dunjey

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