May 28, 2014
Sixto Rodriguez, known to most of us from the documentary Searching for Sugar Man, played back-to-back shows at The Warfield Theater. The 70-year old came out to the stage with a full band (a guy from the UK, a guitarist from New Zealand and a drummer from somewhere else not in the States) and played a really great set, to a really excited crowd. He was dressed in dark clothes, a jacket, and his trademark sunglasses and hat that he only took off towards the end of the set.There must have been a few people from South Africa who yelled out periodically how much South Africa loves him. This continued on throughout the night, and at some point Rodriguez asked them how much they had been drinking. He was funny, chatty and most of all was seeming to have a really great time. After ‘Sugar Man’ he added that the song is “descriptive, not prescriptive … hugs not drugs.” and had a few political quips. He also talked about growing up in a Mexican family.
Rodriguez who released his first EP in 1970 in Detroit has definitely paid his dues. He is often times compared to Dylan and on occasion does a Dylan cover. Its hard to believe that he never found the same fame that Dylan had as his music is just as good, if not better. For a long while he was thought to have been dead, and then found a resurgence in South Africa during Apartheid. The music is all Detroit and is a great blend of urban, blues and folk music put into one. He’s got a very melodic soulful voice with an edge and perhaps a hint of sadness. He seemed to blow through his 2 albums all too quickly. The set lasted just over an hour and was a great ‘best-of’ set with a few covers thrown in.‘I Wonder’ was a stand out with catchy sexual lyrics. ‘Sugar Man’ sounds wonderful live. His backing band was phenomenal and they had a great chemistry. It would be hard to complain to be recruited by him and play a full tour with him.
LP, who is mostly known from her song being in a Citibank commercial, opened the set. She was impressive and has one hell of a voice. Reminding me of St. Vincent she was a force. Her set was short, but she definitely left an impression and everyone was left talking about her. I will have to be seeing her again.