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Monday, December 9, 2013


Tribute to Rodriguez offers a very enjoyable and entertaining night out. (Review by Keith Millar)
Durban has a wonderful selection of festive season entertainment on offer this year. However, if you after something a little more hardcore then get yourself to the Rhumbelow Theatre in Umbilo where Durban’s premier rock band, The Reals, are performing their tribute to Rodriguez, entitled Cold Fact.
The story of Mexican/American singer/songwriter Sixto Rodriguez is a fascinating one. He released two albums in America in the early 1970’s. Despite receiving good reviews, they did not sell very well. Eventually, Rodriguez gave up on his music career and became a house renovator and builder in his hometown of Detroit.
Meanwhile, copies of his music arrived in South Africa where his anti-establishment lyrics resonated with the young people of this country who were protesting against the apartheid government. He soon became a cult figure who, at times, was more popular than Elvis Presley.
The royalties from the sales of his albums were misappropriated and Rodriguez remained a poor and humble man, completely unaware of the fame and respect he enjoyed in this country.
That is until the 1990’s when a group of South African fans, ignoring rumours that he had died from a drug overdose or by suicide, found him alive and well and living in Detroit. Since then he has enjoyed a revival of his music career and has achieved a measure of fame and fortune. The search for Rodriguez is documented in the award-winning movie, Searching For Sugarman.
Rodriguez’s music is difficult to categorise. It fuses elements of folk, rock, jazz, soul and blues. He is often compared to other anti-establishment singer/songwriters such as Bob Dylan and Cat Stephens. South African audiences have always related to his heartfelt lyrics and honest music which is as pertinent today as it was when he wrote it.
Cold Fact is mainly about the music. The Reals perform most of the songs from the Cold Fact album as well as a few from the second album, Coming From Reality. All his best known and loved songs such as A Most Disgusting Song, I’ll Slip Away, I Wonder, Establishment Blues and Sugar Man are included. The music is only occasionally interrupted by sound clips of interviews with Rodriguez and by Barry Thompson who in his usual charming style imparts a few insights into the personality of the man.
 The Reals consist of Dawn Selby and keyboards, Barry Thompson on guitar, Jason Andrew on bass and Mali Sewell on Drums. In Cold Fact, the vocals are shared by all three men. The band puts in its usual impeccable performance. They display real sincerity and warmth on stage.
The informal Rhumbelow Supper Theatre is the perfect venue perfect for this intimate show and the result is a very enjoyable and entertaining night out.
The next three shows take place on December 13 and 14 at 20h00 and on December 15 at 14h00 and 18h30.
The venue opens 90 minutes before show for picnic dinner. Take along food picnic baskets and braais will be available. There is limited secure parking and booking is essential. A cash bar is available (no alcohol may be brought on to the premises). Rhumbelow Theatre is situated in Cunningham Avenue off Bartle Road.
Tickets R100 (less 25% pensioners and tables of eight or more) booked through Computicket or contact Roland on 031 205 7602 (h) or 082 499 8636, email or visit - Keith Millar