Thursday, February 14, 2008

Recap: Rodrigo y Gabriela at 4th & B

Before Monday's Anti-Monday league, Andrea and I headed down to 4th & B to catch Rodrigo y Gabriela. I was given a photo pass, which was nice because when we got there, the crowd was pretty full up along the railing. As with most photo passes, I was given a three song limit and not allowed to use my flash. With my little 6 megapixel point and shoot, I was a little nervous, becuase lighting is always unpredictable. People in the crowd had cameras, many of them taking flashing pics throughout the show, but I didn't wanna break the rules.

Here are some of the results:

I was completely impressed with Rodrigo y Gabriela. My only previous experience seeing the pair was on all those little 3 minute clips between shows on MTV. They play acoustic guitars but play them more aggressively than what would seem possible. I would call it Spanish guitar, in an almost flamenco style, like you'd expect to hear the vocalist from the Gypsy Kings bust out with his signature ayyyy-yay-yay. But then they bring the rock, playing hard without vocals. The only song I recognized was one by Metallica and the crowd really ate it up.

While I was up front, I was overtaken by the power of the amps, which literally blew my hair back from my face. It was certainly an overpowering feeling and easy to get lost in the lights and the music. I still consider 4th & B an "intimate" venue, especially for a performance like this one.

I don't know exactly how long they played- my tickets came through last minute and we had planned on heading to the Anti-Monday League and wanted to get there in time.

Before we left, we talked to a friend of mine who gave me a little info about 4th & B and what's been going on. Essentially, he told me that the general belief was that the House of Blues promised the owners that they would be stewards for the venue, with a certain cash flow guarantee to them. Instead, insiders at 4th & B believe that House of Blues was simply trying to control the competition, and as evidenced by them allowing the entertainment license to lapse, were in a way trying to sabotage the club and drive them under. The plan has certainly backfired, with House of Blues continuing to struggle. Supposedly the place is doing so poorly that they've cut back their hours to open at 4 pm instead of 11 am.

The sub-lease contract was ended, the entertainment license restored, and now the club is back in full swing, operating as an independent venue. This allows the club to control their own booking, and also allow other promoters to lease the space- promoters like AEG and perhaps even The Casbah will once again be allowed to present shows at the venue. This month alone, there are 15 nights of shows, which is more than they've had in one month since before the contract.

This pleases me to no end- I've always really liked 4th & B for concerts, seeing some of my favorite performances by Neil Finn, Rhett Miller, Wilco and Ryan Adams in the past. I even loved shows like Juanes, Big Head Todd and The Monsters, G. Love with Jack Johnson, and the time my friend and I hung out backstage with Neurotic Outsiders (Steve Jones, Matt Sorum, Duff McKagen and John Taylor) and Hog.

Unfortunately, I didn't get the skinny on the box office- I would hope that tickets will once again become available at the box office to circumvent the exhorbitant fees associated with Ticketmaster- but maybe in time.

All that said, there are a couple shows recently announced that should be noted:

Saturday, April 12
4th & B
On sale Friday, February 15 at 10am

Friday, April 25
4th & B
On sale Friday, February 15 at 10am

For now, assume those tickets will only be available through Ticketmaster until I can find out otherwise.

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