Rodriguez – – Live Review – 15 December 09

Rodriguez is a genuine Legend, a fact we are reminded of throughout tonight’s show, not only by the performance itself, but by the shouts from the audience gathered at Islington’s intimate, hallowed and usually hushed, Union Chapel. Support act, Wand (formerly Wooden Wand) send delicate, acoustic shards reverberating around the chapel, dedicating one song to the recently deceased Jack Rose (with the wry disclaimer that if it turned out badly, it would be dedicated to Maggie Thatcher). After a short break, the humble Rodriguez, dressed in black and ever-present shades, is helped on-stage by members of his young band (who can hardly have been born when his albums were first released in the early 1970s) and proceed to let loose an almighty noise. So loud, in fact, that on occasion, his vocals are totally lost in a blur of over-exuberant drum and guitar. But this doesn’t dampen the crowd’s enthusiasm one bit. In between songs, they hang on his every word – the secrets of life (’Keep breathing!’) and love (’Free love is too expensive’) relishing every moment spent in the same room as the living legend that is Sixto Rodriguez. The crowd-pleasing set from his two, now classic albums, includes ‘To Whom It May Concern’, ‘Crucify Your Mind’, ‘I Think Of You’ (’I thought of you when I wrote this), ‘Climb Up On My Music’, ‘Rich Folk’s Hoax’, ‘Like Janis’ and, of course, ‘Sugar Man’ is greeted with cheers from the faithful of all ages, some who have waited years to see Rodrigez in the flesh. Closing with a rock’n’roll medley as an encore, Rodriguez’s smile stretches from ear to ear, he’s obviously thrilled to be back on stage, playing his music to a brand new audience. The Legend continues.

(Keith Baker)

Playlist Creator & Web Marketer. The son of a church organist father and pianist mother, South African born Brian Currin grew up surrounded by music. In his pre-teen years he realised that he had no real talent for playing music and he couldn't sing, so he immersed himself in the world of music by listening, exploring and researching. Which he still does today. He spent many years in corporate sales and marketing until his involvement in the re-discovery of Rodriguez, opened up a whole new world for him. He was the Content Editor for Rhythm Online, South Africa's first online music store, from 2006 to 2012. He ran Mabu Vinyl, the iconic music store seen in the Oscar-winning "Searching For Sugar Man" film from 2013 to 2019. His voice could be heard on the streaming radio station All Jazz Radio where he hosted the Vagabond Show from 2012 to 2019. He is very involved in promoting South African music, and is the co-owner of a number of music-related websites including which he founded in 1999.

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