IN THE wake of a massive resurgence of interest in the music and fairytale story of folk icon Rodriguez, fuelled by the documentary Searching for Sugar Man, Centrestage presents its own two-night salute to Rodriguez at Old Grey tonight and Saturday.
Finding Sugarman is headed up by Wayne Kallis, along with a new-look line-up which introduces drummer Devon van Rooyen and bassist Andrew Warneke to the Centrestage fold and re-acquaints fans with percussionist John Dickin, who augments the six-man ensemble with tasteful percussion.
Sherid van Rooyen plays guitar and Khanya Matomela plays keyboards in the band.
Nick Wilson, brother of Centrestage co-owner Tanya Hemmings, recalls socialising with Rodriguez while playing pool after a PE concert:
"I was working at The Herald in Port Elizabeth as a reporter when I saw Rodriguez live in the city.
"My colleague Fredlin Adriaan snapped a pic of myself with Rodriguez after the gig and I was blown away by how humble and how unlike a rock ’n roll icon he was.
"Later on, another colleague Hagen Engler and myself went to a jazz bar, I forget the name, and were both surprised as hell to find Rodriguez there playing pool with some of the people involved with his gig.
"It completely exploded the myth of Rodriguez for me. I had grown up hearing and kind of half believing the legend that Rodriguez had shot himself on stage after reciting the lines "Thanks for your time and you can thank me for mine”.
"Obviously seeing him in person and then talking to him was something else.
"He had no clue that he had had such a massive impact on myself and other young teenagers in South Africa going all the way back to the ’70s.
"He was shy and humble and kind of like an Hispanic Brian Wilson.”
With Rodriquez currently scheduled to perform in Johannesburg and Cape Town later in February, under the banner of Big Concerts, the Port Elizabeth salute will afford local fans a chance to enjoy Rodriguez’s classic songs from Cold Fact and Coming From Reality, performed live up front and close by a top group of local musicians.
Favourite songs will include the likes of Sugar Man, Crucify Your Mind, Hate Street Dialogue, Forget It, I Wonder, Like Janis, Rich Folks Hoax, Jane S Piddy, Climb Up on My Music, A Most Disgusting Song, Halfway Up the Stairs, Cause and I'll Slip Away, among others.
Tickets for the show can be purchased through Computicket at R120 each, with block bookings of eight costing only R100.