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Saturday, July 13, 2013


Usual high standard of performance from Heritage Theatre’s resident band. (Review by Keith Millar)

Back by popular demand, and running for this week only at the Heritage Theatre, is the musical tribute show, Rodriguez – Cold Fact. It is a celebration of the music of the early 1970’s Detroit folksinger, Sixto Rodriguez, as well as a reflection on his unusual life and career.

Rodriguez, known as Sugarman after his best loved song, had a brief musical career during which time his two albums received critical recognition but did not sell well. So he went back to work as a building labourer.

However, unknown to Rodriguez, his music had struck a chord with the youth of South Africa where he became A super star. With his poetry-like lyrics and his anti-establishment sentiments, he was adopted as a cult hero and a symbol of the struggle of young white people to come to terms with the political situation in South Africa at the time. With no new releases, he slowly faded into obscurity. In fact, there were rumours that he had committed suicide.

This, however, was not good enough for a group of fans who tracked him down in the 1990’s. This led to a revival of his career after over 20 years in the wilderness. He was a headline act at the Glastonbury Festival in Britain this year.

Often compared to Bob Dylan, Rodriguez’s music is meaningful, expressive and very listenable. Many of his lyrics are still very pertinent to world of today.

The Heritage resident band, The Reals, performed this music with consummate skill and flair. Vocals were shared between Barry Thompson and guitar, Jason Andrew on bass and Mali Sewell on Drums, while Music Director Dawn Selby was busy providing all the orchestrations from her keyboards. The band did not try to replicate Rodriguez’s distinctive voice. They make the music their own and deliver their usual high standard of performance.

Featuring mostly items from Rodriguez’s first album, Cold Fact, the show included all the best remembered songs such as I Wonder, Establishment Blues, Sugarman, Forget It, Only Good For Conversation and the amusing A Most Disgusting Song.

A highlight of any visit to the Heritage Theatre is usually the meal they serve, and last night was no different. I started with the Soup of the Day which was a delectable butternut, carrot, leak and celery blend. Rich and creamy with a hint of pepper it was the ideal comfort food for a chilly and slightly damp evening. The wife thoroughly enjoyed the Portuguese Calamari while other starters on the menu included Heritage Chicken Salad and a Chef’s Special of Garlic Snails at a extra cost.

For main course, I chose the Braised Pork Neck Steak for the third time in a row. Partly because I am boring but also because it is just so damn good. Rich and strong in flavour it is cooked to perfection and melts in the mouth. My wife raved about her Baked Baby Chicken while a friend who was with us thought her Sea Catch was superb. There is also a Veggie Stack available and the Heritage’s famous Lamb Shank at a slightly extra cost. Compliments to the chef for proving a really fine dining experience.

Rodriguez – Cold Fact is a must for all Sugarman fans – and there are many of them going by size of last night’s audience. The Food?  Well - that is a must for everyone.

The show runs until Sunday (July 14) at the Heritage Theatre in Hillcrest. Tickets R195 Saturday night and R165 for Sunday lunch, including a two-course meal. Early booking is advised by phoning 031 765 4197 or online at – Keith Millar