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Rodriguez – Weisman Museum – Minneapolis (9/23/12) Live Show

September 30, 2012

Rodriquez was on loan from pop culture to the University of Minnesota’s Weisman Museum this past Sunday night for an invitation-only event.

Rodriguez songwriting is a cross between Bob Dylan and Smokey Robinson – soul folk.  He performed solo: voice and guitar, yet if you closed your eyes you could imagine Motown arrangements sweetening the songs.  His voice, despite his 70 years, was as fresh and youthful as it was on his LP Cold Fact in 1970.

When Rodriguez sang he was spellbinding, but his between song noodling sometimes turned the performance into a well attended sound-check. Occasionally this between song ritual was punctuated by deadpan commentary.

Yet Rodriguez’s overall performance was awkwardly engaging and rewarding.

Rodriguez pop cultural resume is downright bizarre and would not be out place in a Michael Chabon novel.  It is celebrated in the award-winning documentary “Searching for Sugar Man.”  The story is summarized better other places like the movie’s trailer (below) or this City Pages blog entry.

The gig had an odd vibe, perhaps due to the unusual mix of the venue, the audience and the performer.  Looking at Rodriguez current tour itinerary finds that he is mostly playing music clubs in the 500 to 1000-patron size. The performance space at the Weisman is designed for receptions and lectures. The audience (estimated at 200) seemed designed for upscale charity events vs. your typical rock club audience (yet they were well-informed on the Rodriguez legend).  And the performer, as I said above, was awkwardly engaging.

All the same I am grateful to have witnessed this now legendary performer.   How many unknown pop music geniuses have been lost?  Rodriguez is the proverbial needle in the haystack.


From → Music Reviews

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