Two to get started
The tenth Fuji Rock Festival to be held in Naeba started off with a message from the governor of Niigata thanking Fujirockers for all their spiritual and financial support for residents who suffered in last year's earthquake. A different sort of temblor opened the show proper with the Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, who, at the moment at least, are probably the most famous buskers in the world (and who live in Dublin, the most famous busker city in the world thanks that movie with the guy from The Frames).
The two musicians play a far-reaching combination of flamenco and rock, reflecting their backgrounds as both technical virtuosos and metal fans. Gabriela mostly handles the rhythm parts, throwing mind-blowing percussion effects into the mix, while Rodrigo tackles the fleet-fingered leads, a contrast that was perfectly demonstrated when each did a solo stint. Gabriela's was more impressionistic and atmospheric, blending harsh chords with bell-like aftertones. She even provided the flamenco equivalent of a drum solo. Rodrigo was more the show-off, teasing the audience with fragments of Hendrix and Led Zep but mostly sticking to his own original melodies.
There was no singing involved, unless you want to count the choral singalong that Rodrigo sparked: the audience was encouraged to copy the guitar notes he was playing. The crowd obliged and as the sun made tentative appearances through the hazy clouds they seemed energized, matching the ebb and flow of the music on stage with their own palpable excitement. Busking obviously has its rewards: RyG know exactly how to hold on to an audience. Even after they left the stage a lot of people couldn't let go.
photos (c) Izumi Kumazawa
Reported by Philip Brasor (2008.07.25 / 12:02)