June 25, 2009

Rodriguez at the Triple Door

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Rodriguez ::: Photo by Abbey Simmons

In recent years, the mantle of urban philosophy has been held aloft by the hip-hop generation, reflecting the turmoil of forgotten and ill-served neighborhoods where hustling was a way of life. In the decade before “Rapper’s Delight” began making waves, Detroit’s Sixto Diaz Rodriguez, known to most as simply Rodriguez, was committing his own brand of urban philosophy to song. Through two albums released in 1970 and 1971 he remained largely unnoticed in the U.S. and gave up his musical career after his label dropped him and went out of business.

Last year Seattle label Light in the Attic re-released his first LP Cold Fact, and the response from fans was immediate. This year the label has re-released his second LP, Coming from Reality and arranged for an assortment of summer dates throughout the U.S., bringing Rodriguez to Seattle for the first time ever. Tuesday’s sold out show at the Triple Door had Rodriguez backed by San Fransisco’s the Fresh & Onlys, complete with an additional four piece brass section.

Apparently every music writer in town was in the house, though each came off with a completely different take on the night. Minor sound level issues acknowledged, I definitely felt I was witnessing a moment in history and in the presence of a pure thinker. Garbed completely in black, the now 67 years old Rodriguez, retains an effortless image of cool. Dropping philosophical bits of wisdom on all manner of subjects between songs, I began to get a sense of the colorful person portraying the unvarnished reality of Vietnam-era America, and began to perceive Rodriguez’s songs not simply as songs, but as extensions of his own personality.

This unflinchingly honest nature certainly led to a few laughs, but embedded in his comments were larger themes acknowledging the frailty of humanity. If occasionally causing discomfort, this perspective also made night that much more poignant considering Rodriguez’s own obviously advancing age, the 800-pound gorilla in the room that most would probably rather not have been constantly reminded about. Encouraging hooting and hollering from the crowd throughout the set turned a normally staid Triple Door into a something else entirely, in the process earning huge grins from our protagonist; one excited compliment about a nice smile led Rodriguez to respond, “I know it’s bullshit, but keep talking baby.”

Thoughts of mortality aside, any time spent with Rodriguez seems memorable by default, and this night especially so for me. To have been a witness to the Second (or is it Fourth?) Coming of Rodriguez was a privilege, for his deep thoughts and general presence, as much as for the music. Often to be on the stage is to put on airs, but to experience Rodriguez is to have an epiphany about just how ridiculous one’s own airs amount to in the face of living a full and rewarding life.

If you missed it, catch a few videos from Tuesday night after the jump…

Rodriguez ::: Photo by Abbey Simmons

Rodriguez ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

Rodriguez ::: Photo by Abbey Simmons

Arthur & Yu with the Moondoggies ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

Flickr: Rodriguez at the Triple Door with Arthur & Yu, June 23, 2009

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June 17, 2009

Rodriguez did Paris, is coming next to our west coast

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I don’t know about you, but I am mega-excited for my chance to finally see Sixto Diaz Rodriguez live at the Triple Door next Tuesday. In the re-emergence of interest following the re-release of his first album, local label Light in the Attic has arranged for a summer-long world tour of sorts to coincide with this year’s re-release of his second album Coming from Reality, and next week finds him playing a string of west coast dates.

Above is a just posted video of the man himself performing “Crucify Your Mind” in the streets of Paris, recorded during his trip to Europe earlier this month. Courtesy of L’Express, you can also check a companion video of him playing “Inner City Blues” and explaining the background of the song.

For Tuesday’s June 23rd Seattle stop at the Triple Door, Rodriguez will be backed by a full band, and Arthur & Yu (with the Moondoggies) will be opening. Tickets are available on the Triple Door site for $20.

May 5, 2009

Rodriguez Coming From Reality, and to Seattle, 38 years later, Win Tickets

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Following the acclaimed re-release last year of his first studio album, Sixto Diaz Rodriguez’ second studio album Coming From Reality is seeing its re-release today, nearly four decades after it was recorded and originally released. Seattle’s own Light in the Attic Records is of course once again the culprit behind both the album’s vinyl and digital re-release.

Simply known to most as Rodriguez, in 1971′s Coming From Reality his second and final studio album, he continues his ruminations on the situation of the disaffected urban everyman. It shows that during that time the cloud of Vietnam hung over America’s head and the idea of rock n’ roll still held water as a rebellious act. Mixed among the heavy protest and the meandering poetry though is a genuinely romantic soul with a keen sense for creating delicate and uplifting love songs.

MP3: “Heikki’s Suburbia Bus Tour” by Rodriguez from Coming from Reality courtesy of Light in the Attic Records

Rodriguez thought he’d reached his height as a popular musician in another life on another continent, but last year’s re-release of 1970′s “Cold Fact” re-focused American attention his music, so much so that he’s scheduled an irregular set of summer dates across the U.S., a list that now includes an Austin City Limits appearance in early October.

Rodriguez will be making his way to Seattle as part of a week of west coast dates in June, taking the stage at the Triple Door on Tuesday June 23rd. Courtesy of Light in the Attic Records, we’ve got two tickets to give away to his appearance at the Triple Door where he’ll be supported by Arthur & Yu. And since we want to make sure all of our readers have a chance on this one, we’re going to say you’ve got until Thursday May 7th at 5pm PST to drop a comment in this post, and at that time we’ll randomly choose a winner of two tickets to this Triple Door show. If you don’t see your comment right away don’t worry, it’s there, we’ve just got to approve all first time commenters.

As of right now tickets are available on the Triple Door site, for $20 each. How long that will last I don’t know.

Update: Check his Rodriguez’ just released Daytrotter Session!

March 12, 2009

Rodriguez plans out a decidedly spaced out spring-long nationwide tour

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It’s got to be said that local label Light in the Attic is making every other label look bad these days. Beyond re-releasing some stellar albums that didn’t get enough attention in their day and signing local bands like The Saturday Knights, they’ve been a major cog in resurgence of vinyl and catering to that segment of the market. One re-release that has payed dividends in spades for all who are involved is the stellar 1970 debut album Cold Fact by man of many musical colors Rodriguez.

MP3: “Sugar Man” by Rodgriguez from Cold Fact courtesy of Light in the Attic Records

We weren’t the only ones who named that re-release one of our favorite records of 2008, and with the renewed interest in Sixto Diaz Rodriguez in the States that Cold Fact has brought (he was already much-loved for it in South Africa), Light in the Attic has announced plans for a set of shows to occur across the country throughout the spring, with the west coast leg shows happening over a week in June. Seattle was lucky enough snag one of those dates at the Triple Door on June 23. Tickets for that one aren’t on sale yet, but I suspect you’ll be able to find them on the Triple Door’s snazzy new site sometime soon.

Word is, Rodriguez’s second recording from 1971 titled Coming From Reality will also be released by Light in the Attic May 5. For a modern recording of Rodriguez head on over to Daytrotter who did an exclusive session with him late last year in a Pizza Parlor. The full list of announced tour dates are below.

RODRIGUEZ 2009 TOUR DATES

4/10 – High Noon Saloon, Madison, WI 4/24 – Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland, OH 5/08 – Schubas Tavern, Chicago, IL 5/09 – Magic Stick, Detroit, MI 5/13 – Rock & Roll Hotel, Washington DC 5/14 – Johnny Brenda’s, Philadelphia, PA 5/15 – Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY 6/22 – Richard’s On Richards, Vancouver, BC 6/23 – The Triple Door, Seattle, WA 6/24 – Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, OR 6/26 – Slim’s, San Francisco, CA 6/27 – El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

January 31, 2009

An Invitation to Abbey’s January Listening

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Happy 2009 all! Here’s the first ’09 edition of what I’m listening to. Hope 2009 has been treating you all swell thus far. As you’re about to see, 2009 has been a lot less of my usual heavy rock & roll and a lot of enjoying singer-song-writers and quieter tunes.

* Blind Pilot3 Rounds and a Sound * RodriguezCold Fact * Horse FeathersHouse With No Home * Hey MarseillesTo Travels & Trunks * Damien JuradoCaught in The Trees * Telekinesis“Coast of Carolina” * Rilo KileyThe Execution of All Things * J. Tillman - Vacilando Territory Blues and Minor Works * The Dutchess and The Duke - She’s The Dutchess and He’s The Duke * Bon IverBlood Bank EP

August 19, 2008

The Daily Choice: Rodriguez

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As I’m pretty sure you all know, I work for Seattle-based record label Light In The Attic, and because of this I really do try and avoid needlessly shilling the Light In The Attic products.  But beloved readers, this time I just can’t help myself.  Today, Light In The Attic is releasing what I consider to be in the top three releases in the label’s short history – Rodriguez’s Cold Fact.

I’ve been promoting this album for so long, that I’m tired as shit of harping on the story aspect (though it is amazing and you can read the whole damn fascinating life story of Sixto Rodriguez right HERE) but luckily for the world, Rodriguez’s music speaks for itself.  Psych rock, Dylan-style folk, a savage dashing of Motown horns and bass – this is a smorgasborg of near-perfectly balanced styles, a dusty, somewhat-bizarre classic finally, finally unearthed.

Rodriguez – Sugar Man

Buy it from Light In The Attic!