Matson on Music
Photos and lines: Rodriguez at the Showbox
I hadn't planned on writing anything, since I went to the Rodriguez concert / Light in the Attic Records 10-year anniversary party at the Showbox at the Market Saturday night purely for my own enjoyment, BUT — something must be said about how the thousand-plus audience mercilessly talked over the 70-year-old Detroit singer-songwriter. Come on, Seattle! There were whoops of recognition for his signature song "Sugar Man." But I had expected more whooping between songs, and more silence during them. True, he was more quiet than most singers. And maybe the sound engineer could have done something about that. But he actually sang very well, his tenor voice sly and narrowed just like his recordings. And if the concert had happened in an audio vacuum, or, say, at the Triple Door, where as a rule people sit down and shut up, it would have been perfect. But the Showbox crowd was not respectful enough to give him that vacuum. My theory is most people went because they were intrigued by Rodriguez' legendary story. But it's not cool just to be in the midst of greatness. You have to pay attention. Then again there is always a contingent at popular shows of people who don't care what happens, aren't familiar with the art or interested in soaking it in. My anger mellowed when a section of REAL fans screamed for an encore, and Rodriguez played a furious "Blue Suede Shoes." Then it almost completely went away when after the show, one man who looked like he was in his 60s shoved papers in Rodriguez' guitarist's hand, saying, "I just want you to give him this letter and my poetry!" At least some attendees were involved on an emotional level.