|Willie and Lobo pleased the crowd that filled Hughs Room in Toronto last night. Performing from a wedge shaped stage cleverly inserted into the far corner of this large room filled with dining tables that fan out from the stage allowing unimpeded visibility, the famed gypsy-guitar (Lobo) and violin (Willie) duo put on quite a show.
Their repertoire combines the dazzle of heel-tapping flamenco and the bravura of Eastern European Gypsy violin. Lobo, creased and crumpled over his guitar radiates an inviting intensity. Willie, grins and kids while he plays, sometimes standing, weaving and waving like a tall reed in a trout stream.
Their arrangements are interesting. Sometimes they play in unison, making a solid sound where the guitar weaves like threads of brocade across a broad swath of violin; sometimes the violin does the rhythm behind a chorus or two of guitar, and then they switch.
The highlight of the evening was in the first set when local-based guitarist Jesse Cook sat in. As the number, maybe an Alegrias got started, Jesse sort of sat and watched Lobos guitar for a bit till he caught what was happening, and then Jesse jumped in flailing away with finger rolls and picking a staccato of crisp sixteenth notes that inspired Lobo to his best solo of the evening.