The legendary self-taught guitarist’s love affair with Australia is no secret; Rodriguez, the quiet king of blues rock, first toured our shores in the late 1970s, long before the rest of the world caught onto his talent thanks to Malik Bendjelloul’s Oscar-winning film Searching for Sugar Man.
The Searching for Sugar Man. documentary follows Rodriguez’s celebrated history that began in the bars and clubs around Detroit in the 1960s. Drawing inspiration from the city’s post-industrial urban decay, Rodriguez recorded and released albums Cold Fact (1969) and Coming From Reality (1971) that largely went unnoticed in the United States.
Thanks to bootleg recordings and word of mouth, Cold Fact found its way to South Africa where its counter-culture lyrics resonated with the country’s politically-alienated youth. Without a telephone and working factory and construction jobs to support his family, Rodriguez remained oblivious to the fact that he was bigger than Elvis in South Africa.
More than four decades after the release of his debut, Rodriguez’s incredible vocal and musical skill is finally being heard by audiences throughout Europe, the United Kingdom and North America, including recent appearances at the iconic Glastonbury and Coachella festivals.
Lauded as the downtown Bob Dylan, Rodriguez’s blend of social politics, emotional insights and street observations, showcased in songs like ‘Sugar Man’, ‘I Wonder’ and ‘Cause’, vividly capture a certain time and place, all complemented by his impeccable voice.
We’re pretty bloody happy the sugar man was found and he’s heading back to our shores this November.
General public tickets go on sale, Thurday 14 July, 10am local time.