We surely all know the story of Sixto Rodriguez by now. The Detroit-born singer-songwriter made two fine albums in the early 1970s, Cold Fact and Coming from Reality, before swiftly vanishing. As he descended into obscurity his music slowly rose to find its audience, most notably in South Africa, where he became a star in absentia and a blank canvas upon which numerous outlandish myths could be projected: he was in jail for murder; he was a heroin addict; he was dead; he had committed suicide on stage.
The recent documentary Searching for Sugar Man tells the story of his musical resurrection in compelling fashion, and at 70 Rodriguez is making the most of his late-blossoming fame, which keeps finding fresh sources of sustenance without him having to do very much at all. There has been no new album for four decades, but on the back of the success of the film the venues on this tour are bigger, and the sense of anticipation palpable. If the singer is now approaching legendary status, the music in many ways is playing only a supporting role.