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Over the past few months, I’ve been lucky enough to go to a biggish load of music gigs. Jac’s job at Sony have been very useful in getting hard-to-find tickets, and to keep my side of the bargain, I’ve been finding and buying tickets for a load of non-Sony based acts. In the past few months, I’ve seen Newton Faulkner, Ruarri Joseph, Ghosts and David Ford. And last night, mainly because David Ford was supporting, Michelle, Jac, Katie and I polled up at the Hammersmith Apollo to see Rodrigo y Gabriela.
We arrived outside at around 6.45pm, surrounded by the rush of pre-Christmas London. I’d never thought Rodrigo y Gabriela were that big – but the queue that snaked back on itself several times told a different story. We first saw them at Guilfest in the summer, strumming away on their guitars for half an hour like their lives depended on it. They were incredible. And the fact that David Ford was supporting sealed the deal…
As I say, the queue was enormous. But in a remarkable twist of timing and a superb freak of timing, we arrived just when the queue was being split in two by the security staff, and were directed midway through the queue, instantly making us people that I would normally hate. Nevertheless, we were in within 10 minutes, and dealt immediately with our weakening bladders. The long queue for the Mens would have more at home in the Ladies, truth be told, and as Jac and I stood waiting for our chance to offload I set about imagining a better design for the facility. My inner architect was shining through admirably.
Eventually, we made it to the stage and found a good central place to stand. The Hammersmith Apollo has been monopolised by beermakers Carling, meaning the large bar in the corner was stocked entirely by… Carling. “2 pints please,” I asked the friendly barman. He looked apologetically at me. “They’re Â£3.40.”
“Each?!” I laughed, getting Â£4 out for the two cans.
“Yes, I’m afraid so,” the barman said, embarrassed but firm.
Successfully fleeced, I made my way back to our place, and waited for David Ford and the two Spanish wonders.
Over the next two hours, we were treated to a musical spectacle. It’s amazing to be confronted by two acts that manage to be immense talents without all the fakery that abounds in the music industry nowadays. There was a decent crowd for the ever self-effacing David Ford, and the crowd went utterly loopy for Rodrigo y Gabriela. I was wondering how they would fill a 90 minute slot with what was essentially two people playing guitars – but fill it they did, using the singing and clapping crowd as the rhythm and driving them all loopy with excitement. They’re guitar-playing needs to be seen to be believed – their playing is so fast, so furious and so complicated that it’s a wonder they have any fingers left to play with. They’ll be fine candidates for arthritis and RSI, I thought as they reached the crescendo of a finale.
So, it was another thoroughly good night. Roll on the 21st – a David Ford-fest at Bush Hall, full of Christmas spirit!