Mexican acoustic rock duo Rodrigo y Gabriela rock the Roxian (METTAVOLUTION Tour Pittsburgh with Ida Mae)

It has been five years since Mexican acoustic rock duo Gabriela y Rodrigo put out new music. It’s not that they have been lazy by any means, but they did spend three years working on their new release METTAVOLUTION. Mettavolution brings together Rod and Gab’s passionate interest in Buddhism, the history of human evolution and the liberation of the potential we have as a species; all expressed through the medium of two acoustic guitars. Conceived and composed in their studio in Ixtapa on the Mexican Pacific Coast, then road-tested in South America and the USA in 2017, before more fine-tuning and further tweaks on their Australian tour of 2018, a long list of new material has been distilled down to six new Rodrigo y Gabriela compositions and one audacious, jaw-dropping cover version ( ).

Returning to Pittsburgh and recognizing that they rarely play here, Rodrigo and Gabriela treated the audience to an amazing guitar performance using minimal lighting and the intimacy that the Roxian Theater provides which made for an outstanding evening. Playing roughly fourteen songs, the duo went through some of their earlier work but concentrated mainly on their new album. For many, it was a chance to witness classics such as “Diablo Roja” and also hear the new cover of Pink Floyd’s “Echoes”.

Rodrigo came out with an electric guitar at first to accompany Gabriela on “Krotona Days” from their new LP which added a twist to their usual acoustic enrichments. As they rolled through their set it was hard not to step back and be astonished at their true brilliance. A true highlight of the evening was hearing them speak about their music and it’s meaning to the crowd and of course Gabriela’s solo.

The two have come a long way from their early days playing in Dublin after they became frustrated with the music scene in Mexico City. Now an international sensation due to their originals and seemingly impossible cover of Metallica’s “Orion” and a soul bending rendition of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”, the two have become as ‘musician’s musicians’. It would be an absolute travesty if they did not return to Pittsburgh and blow our minds again.

Openers, Ida Mae, are a married couple out of England via Nashville. Their style of American roots music was refreshing. Lead singer and guitarist Chris Turpin plays his dobro or his 100-year-old acoustic like it was another appendage. But its the soul that comes from his fingertips that is truly astonishing. Chris’ wife, Stephanie Jean, sings mainly in accompaniment and uses percussion to round out their authentic sound. Check out their debut album, Chasing Lights recorded at Peter Gabriel’s Real World studio in Bath, England.