A new Brisbane band pays tribute to the musicianship and lyrical prowess of one of the most incisive and poignant commentators on life in the underbelly of the USA and the failings of capitalistic values – Jesus (Sixto) Rodriguez.
The cold facts of street life in Detroit and San Francisco in the 1960s and 1970s gave Rodriguez plenty of material to compose ballads and blues that speak of love's misgivings and, like the works of Jackson Browne and Bruce Cockburn, offer scathing critique of a system that creates despair and division rather than true municipality. In the words of Rodriguez himself: "I've always concentrated on social issues because I've always found it easiest to write about things that upset me." And of his hit 'Establishment Blues' : "This is not a song. It's an outburst!"
Formed in a lounge room in Blakeney Street, Highgate Hill in 1998, Viva Rodriguez are: Paulette Dupuy on sharp and sultry vocals and percussion; Chris Butler on 'Dead Man'–style electric lead and acoustic guitars and Andrew McInally on soulful electric bass and acoustic guitars. Each of the musicians has a personal interest in the ethos behind Rodriguez's music, evident in their vibrant arrangements and raw stage energy.
A sensitive reworking of 'I Wonder' and classic covers of 'Sugar Man' and 'Rich Folks Hoax' attest to the power of song as a medium of protest and comment.
In only a few short months, Viva Rodriguez has gathered a keen following both in Brisbane and at the north coast, and appear regularly at Burke's Hotel, Woolloongabba on Friday nights, where they create mild hysteria as the words and tunes jog the memories of ageing Cold Fact (1969) and Coming from Reality (1971) fans and rouse the interest of new devotees.
There's word that the man himself will be touring Australia later this year but in the meantime, shake off those inner city blues and catch the next best thing – Viva Rodriguez – at Burke's on March 5th. 8pm. And I tell you that this is where it's at!
Enquiries: Andrew – 3391 0286
or e-mail: Jennifer Alford-Mackinney