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Jam Central Station 5.25.13: Rodrigo y Gabriela
Posted by Jeff Modzelewski on 05.25.2013

Hey all! Who's going to see some live music this weekend? Seriously there are festivals everywhere, including 3 just in Ohio that are worth checking out. Of course, I'm not at any of them this weekend :( but I am looking to add one more big event to my summer calendar. Anyways, let's take a look at this week's Headliner!

On the surface, nylon-stringed acoustic guitars and classic thrash-metal sensibilities don't tend to go together. But, as has been proven throughout the history of Jam Central Station, sometimes you have to throw out the old rules and try ideas that are so far outside the box that they can't help but be interesting. The duo of Rodrigo y Gabriela are another great example of that. While they're an acoustic guitar duo, they fall far from the typical "folksy" aspects that you would expect. They're from Mexico and play nylon-stringed acoustics, but they are anything but traditional Mexican Flamenco music. Instead, they've been able to blend the power and energy of modern heavy metal with the natural percussive nature of the acoustic guitar to create a sound that is brand new and extremely exciting.

Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero originally came together musically as a part of the Mexican heavy metal band Tierra Acida. Both had already attempted to train formally in the music conservatory, but had been unable to gain admittance. Tierra Acida lasted over seven years and, during that time, the two formed a strong musical connection. As the band grew over the years, Sanchez and Quintero got frustrated with the limited scope of the band and of the local music scene. They had a desire to branch out beyond the thrash metal that Tierra Acida was doing, and they also saw that Mexico wasn't providing them with real opportunities to make a career out of music.

Both Rodrigo and Gabriela wanted a change, a search for adventure. They didn't feel that Mexico offered them the opportunities for musical advancement that they wanted. They also didn't want to go to the U.S. and instead to go overseas to spend some time in Europe. They went without any solid plans, with little money, no European friends, and no idea where they wanted to settle down. Their only qualifications where that they didn't want to be in a big city like Paris and that they didn't want to end up in Spain. After spending time on the Continent they headed to Dublin, where they began laying down some roots.

When they arrived in Ireland, their only contact they had was a friend of a person that they had met a few days before they left the main continent. With little money and no real grasp of English, they simply began busking on the streets to earn enough money to eat and get a room to sleep. They called the friend of a friend after about a week in order to get have a place to sleep when they ran out of money, but they quickly were able to get on their feet and make enough of a living to get by. Their first paying gig was a party for a child's First Communion, and soon after that they began playing a variety of bars and folk festivals, tailoring their sound to fit the audience that they found. This forced the duo to develop an expansive repertoire of genres that they could pull from, which eventually led to their original music becoming such a diverse melting pot of metal, jazz, classical, folk, mariachi, and other styles.

In 2001, the duo recorded their first album. Foc was recorded at their home, using very basic equipment. Instead of recording the guitars using microphones, they ran straight through the guitar pick-ups, limiting the percussive elements of Gabriela's playing. However, the band did begin to pick up a solid Irish following for their music, and some recognition in bars throughout other parts of Europe. By 2002 they had garnered enough attention to make their first studio recording, apply entitled Re-Foc.The album contained both new songs and re-recorded Foc tracks.

Based on the success of Re-Foc,Rodrigo y Gabriela were suddenly a known Irish commodity, despite arriving in Ireland less than three years earlier. They spent the next few years perfecting their live performances, often mixing covers of well-known classic rock and heavy metal songs into their performances. Metallica was a common artist covered, as well as Megadeth, Sepultura, Slayer, and even classic Led Zepplin. Instead of quickly returning to the studio for a follow up album, they released their first live album in 2004. Live in Manchester and Dublin documented parts of two Irish shows and included musical interpolations within Re-Foc songs of songs like "Fight Fire with Fire," "Seven Nation Army," "Master of Puppets," and others.

The time spent on the road served the band well. They were able to sign with ATO Records, which included international distribution. By the time they returned to the studio in 2005, Ireland was ready for a new album, and much of the rest of the world was becoming interested in the band. They released their eponymous album in February 2006, and the album immediately debuted at #1 on the Irish charts, beating out many other well-known artists including Johnny Cash. The album also did well internationally, and their cover of "Stairway to Heaven" helped gain them an entrance to American audiences. They even were featured on MTV as an "up and coming" act.

Their touring range expanded greatly after the release of Rodrigo y Gabriela. They were able to play clubs both as an opening act and as a headliner throught Europe, the U.S., and even into Asia. They began playing festivals as well, exposing their music to an extremely receptive audience. They released their second live album, Live in Japan in 2008, which documents their first Japanese show. They played Rothbury 2008 immediately before Trey Anastasio's set to a very large main stage audience. Upon first exposure to the band, the common thought of fans tended to be "I've never heard anything like this before." When it comes to jam band fans and festival-goers, however, that's almost always a positive, and it definitely was for Rodrigo y Gabriela.

In 2009, the band once again hit the studio. This time they seriously looked at how they could branch out from what they had been doing on their previous albums. The result was the diverse 11:11, an album that paid direct tribute to artists that influenced them. Each song was derived from an artist that the band admired, from classic rock legends like Santana, Hendrix, and Pink Floyd to a Spanish guitarist, a tango composer, and legendary heavy metal guitarist Dimebag Darryl from Pantera. The album was produced by John Leckie, who also worked with John Lennon, Pink Floyd and Radiohead. While Rodrigo y Gabriela helped launch the band's international success,11:11 put them more in the eyes of America, resulting in performances on late-night TV, being used as bumper music during NFL broadcasts, and even performing for President Obama. The album included a whole new array of effects that the band hadn't used before, and live performances included increased use of pedals and distortion from previous tours.

All of this touring coupled with Gabriela's unique percussive playing style isn't without its dangers. Due to their touring and aggressive playing, the band announced in 2010 that they will be taking some significant time off to allow Gabriela to recover physically from the strains of playing and touring. The duo only toured sporadically for the next couple of years, limiting their performances so that Gabriela could recover. They released a live album in 2011 as well as doing work on the soundtrack for the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. In 2012 they released Area 52, their first album that featured collaborative musicians. The album primarily featured reworkings of songs they had already recorded, backed by the Cuban orchestra C.U.B.A. By 2012 the duo had returned to a full touring schedule.

It's not easy being very unique and also being able to appeal to a wide audience. Rodrigo y Gabriela are able to do that by taking a popular (although not mainstream) form of music in thrash metal and marrying that to other styles and genres, all within the confines of two acoustic guitars. For metal fans, their renditions of classic songs are instantly recognizable and very interesting, and their original music includes elements that metal fans can understand. For other music fans, the energy that comes from much of the heavy metal background is powerful and exciting but also accessible due to the other influences and the acoustic guitars. It's an impressive accomplishment, and one that has allowed Rodrigo y Gabriela to enjoy a tremendous amount of success.

Interlocken Festival announces lineup
The initial lineup for the inaugural Interlocken festival came out this wee. The festival will feature a variety of big names performing multiple sets. Currently the lineup will feature Furthur performing 3 nights (including a performance of The Grateful Dead album Workingman's Dead), 2 nights of Widespread Panic including a night with John Fogerty sitting in, 2 nights of the String Cheese Incident including one night being dubbed the Zac Brown Incident featuring Brown sitting in the entire set, 2 nights of the Black crowes, and a performance by Neil Young & Crazy Horse. The festival is stating that they plan on featuring fewer acts but longer sets, and obviously bands playing multiple nights. Tickets are on sale now.

JamBase Live cancelled
The Jambase Live festival was cancelled this week. The festival was going to be held at The Gorge on July 5 and 6. Many of the artists scheduled to play will likely move to shows in Seattle that weekend, although nothing official has been announced.

Moonrise Festival cancelled
The Moonrise Festival was also cancelled this week. The festival was scheduled for June 8 & 9. It's always unfortunate seeing these cancellations, because people make plans well in advance to attend these festivals. Hopefully we're not seeing an oversaturation of the market.

Papadosio announces Rootwire lineup
Papadosio's annual Rootwire festival announced their 2103 lineup. The festival will feature 3 nights of Papadosio along with a variety of other bands including Karsh Kale, Eskmo, Hudred Waters, Marco Benevento Trio, Dopapod, and others.

Summer Camp Music Festival
May 23-36
Three Sisters Park
Chillicothe, IL
Performers include: moe., Umphrey's McGee, Trey Anastasio Band, The Avett Brothers, Yonder Mountain String Band, Thievery Corp., Big Gigantic, Lettuce, Cornmeal, Keller Williams, and many others.

May 23-26, 2013
Cumberland, MD
Performers include: The Del McCoury Band, Trey Anastasio Band, Old Crow Medicine Show, Yonder Mountain String Band, Trampled by Turtles, The Infamous Stringdusters, Greensky Bluegrass, and many others.

Dark Star Jubilee
May 24-26, 2013
Legend Valley
Thornville, OH
Performers include: 3 nights of Dark Star Orchestra, Mickey Hart Band, Yonder Mountain String Band, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, The Wailers, The Werks, Greensky Bluegrass, Donna Jean Godchaux Band, Elephant Revival, and many others.

The Ville
May 24-26, 2013
Clay's Park Resort
North Lawrence, OH
Performers include: 2 nights of ekoostik hookah, Rusted Root, Col. Bruce Hampton, The Congress, Fletcher's Grove, Dragon Wagon, and many others

Sasquatch! Music Festival
May 24-27, 2013
The Gorge
George, WA
Performers include: Mumford and Sons, The Postal Service, Sigur Ros, Vampire Weekend, Primus, The Lumineers, The xx, Cake, Arctic Monkeys, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, and many others

May 30-June 2, 2013
Mulberry Mountain
Ozark, AR
Performers include: Widespread Panic, Yonder Mountain String Band, STS9, The Black Crowes, Umphrey's McGee, Dispatch, Shpongle, Snoop Lion, Gogol Bordello, Zed's Dead, Rebolution, and many others.

Mountain Jam
June 6-9, 2013
Hunter Mountain, NY
Performers include: Phil Lesh & Friends, Gov't Mule, Widespread Panic, Primus, The Avett Brothers, Dispatch, The Lumineers, Gary Clark Jr., Soulive, ALO, and many others.

Governors Ball Music Festival
June 7-9, 2013
Randall's Island
New York City, NY
Performers include: Guns and Roses, Kanye West, Kings of Leon, The Avett Brothers, Pretty Lights, The Lumineers, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, Thivery Corp., Gary Clark Jr., and many others

Camp Railroad
June 10-14, 2012
Full Moon resort
Big Indian, NY
This 4-day music camp will feature members of Railroad Earth in an assortment of workshops, performances, discussions and other sessions to help aspiring musicians and those interested in the music industry to gain an insight into the inner workings of the band. A variety of accommodations are available, and musicians of all skill levels are accepted.

June 13-16
Manchester, TN
Performers include: Paul McCartney, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Mumford & Sons, Bjork, Wilco, Pretty Lights, The Lumineers, David Byrne & St. Vincent, Passion Pit, Of Mosters and Men, ZZ Top, and many more.

Telluride Bluegrass Festival
June 20-23, 2013
Telluride, Colorado
Performers include: Mumford & Sons, The String Cheese Incident, Dispatch, Greensky Bluegrass, Sam Bush Band, Jackson Brown, Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon, Jerry Douglas Band, Punch Brothers, Trampled by Turtles, Infamous Stringdusters, Elephant Revival, and many others.

Firefly Music Festival
June 21-23, 2013
The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway
Dover, DE
Performers include: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Avett Brothers, dispatch, The Lumineers, Alabama Shakes, and many others.

Solid Sound Festival
June 21-23, 2013
Museum of Contemporary Art
North Adams, MA
Hosted by Wilco. Other performers include: Medeski, Martin, & Wood, Neko Case, White Denim, and many others.

Electric Forest Festival
June 27-30, 2013
Double JJ Ranch and Resort
Rothbury, MI
Performers include: String Cheese Incident (3 nights), Pretty Lights, Lotus, Passion Pit, Dispatch, Beats Antique, Railroad Earth, Trombone Shorty, Digital Tape Machine, Jeff Austin & Friends, Greensky Bluegrass, and many others

Lunar Bay Music & Arts Festival
June 29-30, 2013
Susquehanna Park
Havre de Grace, MD
Performers include: moe., Steve Kimock, Keller Williams, Yellow Dubmarine, and many others.

High Sierra Music Festival
July 4-7, 2013
Quincy, CA
Performers include: Primus, robert Plant, Thievery Corp., moe., Steel Pulse, Leftover Salmon, The Greyboy Alllstars, Infamous Stringdusters, and many others.

Camp Bisco
July 11-13, 2013
Indian Lookout Country Club
Mariaville, NY

Forecastle Festival
July 12-14, 2013
Louiseville, KY
Performers include: The Black Keys, The Flaming Lips, The String Cheese Incident, The Avett Brothers, The Alabama Shakes, Jim James, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Animal Collective, Old Crow Medicine Show, Dawes, Greensky Bluegrass, and many others.

All Good Music Festival
July 18-21, 2013
Legend Valley
Thornville, OH
Performers include: Furthur, Pretty Lights, Primus, STS9, Grace Potter 7 The Nocturnals, The Infamous Stringdusters, and many more.

Northwest String Summit
July 18-21, 2013
Horning's Hideout
North Plains, OR
Performers include: Yonder Mountain String Band, Greensky Bluegrass, David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, Keller Williams & Friends, and many others.

Pitchfork Music Festival
July 19-21, 2013
Union Park
Chicago, IL

Floyd Fest
July 25-28, 2013
Floyd, VA
Performers include: The Lumineers, John Butler Trio, Yonder Mountain String Band, Railroad Earth, Trampled by Turtles, Blitzen Trapper, and many others.

Gathering of the Vibes
July 25-28, 2013
Seaside Park
Bridgeport, CT
Performers include: Phil Lesh & Friends (2 nights), The Black Crowes, Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Roots, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, John Butler Trio, Railroad Earth, and many others

Newport Folk Festival
July 27-28, 2013
Newport, RI
Performers include: The Avett Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show, Amanda Palmer, The Lumineers, Andrew Bird, Shovels & Rope, and many others

August 2-4, 2013
Grant Park
Chicago, IL
Performers include: Mumford and Sons, The Killers, Phoenix, The Cure, Nine Inch Nails, The Lumineers, The Nationals, The Postal Service, Queens of the Stone Age, and many others

Newport Jazz Festival
August 2-4, 2013
Newport, RI

August 9-11, 2013
Snow Ridge Ski Resort
Turin, NY
Performers include: moe. (obviously), Conspirator, Stanley Jordan Trio, and others.

Summer Set Festival
August 9-11, 2013
Somerset, WI
Performers include: Passion Pit, Big Gigantic, Girl Talk, STS9, Beats Antique, Big Boy, Boombox, Digital Tape Machine, and many others.

Outside Lands
August 9-11, 2013
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA
Performers include: Paul McCartney, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails, Phoenix, Kaskade, Pretty Lights, The National, Jurassic 5, The Head and The Heart, Dawes, and many others

The Peach Music Festival
August 15-18, 2013
Montage Mountain
Scranton, PA
Performers include: The Allman Brothers Band, Bob Weir & Rat Dog, The Black Crowes, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Railroad Earth, Galactic, and many others.

August 15-19, 2013
Kaeppner's Woods
Logan, OH
Performers include: 3 nights of Papadosio, Karsh Kale, Eskmo, Hundred Waters, Mark Henson, Marco Benevento Trio, Dopapod, and many others.

Camp Barefoot
August 22-24, 2013
Bartow, WV
Performers include: Kyle Hollingsworth Band, EOTO, Keller Williams, Team Leaf Green, Zoogma, Conspirator, Break Science, The Motet, and many others.

Interlocken Festival
September 5-8, 2013
Oak Ridge Farm
Arrington, VA
Performers include: Furthur (3 nights), Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Zac Brown, The String Cheese Incident (2 nights), Widespread Panic (2 nights) and The Black Crowes (2 nights).

Catskill Chill
September 6-8, 2013
Camp Minglewood
Hancock, NY

September 27-29
Bouckaert Farm
Chattahoochee Hills, GA

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
October 4-6, 2013
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA

Austin City Limits
October 4-6, 2013
October 11-13, 2013

Bear Creek Music Festival
November 14-17, 2013
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oaks, FL
Performers include: The Roots, Bootsy Collins, Galactic, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Lettuce, The New Mastersounds, Zach Deputy, Toubab Krewe, The Motet, Break Science, and many others.

Strings & Sol
December 11-15, 2013
Puerto Morales, Mexico
Performers include: Yonder Mountain String Band, Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon, Keller & The McCoury's, and Greensky Bluegrass

Mayan Holidaze
December 16-20, 2013
Puerto Morales, Mexico
The event will feature three shows each from Umphrey's McGee, The Disco Biscuits, and STS9

Jam Cruise
January 4-9, 2014
Miami, FL
Performers include: Les Claypool's Duo de Twang, Bootsy Collins, Galactic, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Keller Williams, Galactic, and many others.

Jam in the Sand
February 28-March 4, 2014
Negril, Jamaica
Dark Star Orchestra will host the event. Other performers to be announced.

Thanks again for stopping by! You can find more music from Jam Central Station onFacebook and Twitter. Until next week, Jam On!


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