Internationally renowned Mexican guitar duo, Rodrigo y Gabriela, have utilised an Allen & Heath iLive digital system during their recent stripped down European tour.
The simple tour saw their performances stripped of all the big production paraphernalia common on such tours to, quite simply, two people and two guitars. The pair, Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero, then took their high-energy mix of rock, flamenco, jazz, metal and folk to a series of intimate venues across Europe.
RyG—as they are often known by fans—have seen increasing success since their time as buskers in Dublin. They have now sold over 1 million records and their 2009 album 11:11 provided fans with tracks such as “Hanuman” and “Voodoo Buster”.
Their previous eponymously-titled 2006 album equally saw them showcase a mix of original pieces alongside extraordinary covers of “Stairway to Heaven” and “Orion” by two of their biggest influences—Led Zeppelin and Metallica, respectively.
The simplicity of the performance itself was more than matched by the audio equipment the duo took with them. They carried with them a compact Allen & Heath iLive digital system which comprised the iDR-16 Mix-Rack and iLive-R72 Rackmount Control Surface. The iLive-R72 came with a Dante audio interface card for virtual soundchecking.Article continues below
“We kept all the gear down to just what we could carry,” explained Production Manager, Mike Taylor. “You might think that two guitarists can’t need much but we didn't want to compromise quality just because we had to fly from venue to venue. Both Rodrigo and Gabriella have two set-ups each - a full electric and an acoustic - so in reality we are taking 4 guitar rigs. We are carrying a total of 9 cases of guitars and production equipment, plus luggage, so ‘small’ was the watch word for this tour. Allen & Heath has nailed it with this iLive system - there is absolutely no compromise, not even slightly!”
Rodrigo y Gabriela’s FOH engineer, David Marchant, also had clear ideas of what was required even from this compact kit. The A&H equipment provided all he needed as the iLive-R72 supplemented the in-house console equipment easily whilst also ensuring that Marchant could call upon the desk itself at a moment’s notice.
The diminutive rig that the team took on the tour did not go unnoticed by the various venues’ crew.
“We have been turning up at venues and putting our small desk next to these big format analogue consoles and hearing a few sniggers from the local crew,” added Taylor, “but that all stops the second the sound kicks in!”
Overall, the Allen & Heath iLive kit impressed Taylor and Marchant. This is despite the fact that Rodrigo y Gabriela’s performances can often put a strain on less capable desks.
“Rodrigo and Gabriela are extremely high energy and dynamic,” continued Taylor. “We needed a small desk with a big desk capability and we certainly found that in the iLive-R72.”
“We managed monitors and FOH from the same console, and also a number of matrix outputs for additional areas,” he added. “Using inputs and outputs on both the Surface and MixRack we were able to adapt to everything the venues threw at us”
Rodrigo y Gabriela’s upcoming tour, Area 52, will begin in Europe and will move onto the US in April. In contrast to the tour noted above, Area 52 will involve the pair performing all of their hits with the backing of a full Cuban band, C.U.B.A.. The tour is supporting their most recent identically-titled album released earlier this year.