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CD Review: Rodrigo y Gabriela's Live In Japan 

The Deal: Dynamic acoustic duo show off its skills in a live setting.

The Good: They started out as electric guitar players in a metal band and have brought that energy to the acoustic guitar. Playing plenty of originals with a few covers thrown in, the duo strums their way through an hour and 15 minutes of music on this live set. The limited edition CD also comes with a bonus live DVD of five songs from the concert. The covers are Metallica's "Orion" and "One" and Led Zepplin's "Stairway to Heaven." Rodrigo Sanchez usually handles the soloing while Gabriela Quintero flips and flops her hand across the strings and body of the guitar to create a variety of percussive noises while keeping the rhythm going in chords. However two tracks give each a moment to shine with a solo – Rodrigo's solo contains a snippet of Metallica's "Master of Puppets." The set ends with a fantastic version of the high-speed, percussively intense "Diablo Rojo."

The Bad: No matter how much you listen to them, it doesn't compare to watching them live, so the DVD sure does help. How either player's hand doesn't cramp up is jaw-dropping to me.

The Verdict: It's not easy to get into instrumental music, but these two are some of the most amazing guitar players I've ever heard. You get so transfixed on listening and watching them that you don't even realize how much time has gone by or that no one is singing. Definitely worth checking out – audibly and visually.

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  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
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