Thursday, June 23, 2005


So last night I saw perhaps the most amazing musical performance of my life - no, I'm not talking about Dave Matthews Band - I'm talking about one Xavier Rudd? Who is that, you ask? It's this guy:

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That picture doesn't quite to justice to the amount of stuff that is going on when he plays, so let me elaborate.

Xavier is this cool cat from Australia that plays guitars, shakers, didgeridoos, slide guitars, tongue drums, stomp boxes, djembes, harmonica, ankle bells, and slide banjo... ALL AT THE SAME FREAKING TIME.

I know, in your head you're picturing Dick Van Dyke from Mary Poppins where he has the drum strapped to his back, the cymbals on his knees, etc. (No? Just me - whatever - you know you're not too cool to know how to spell supercalifragilisticexpealidotious) - but this guy pulls the act off looking cooler than me with my collar up.

Here's how it works. He sits down, barefoot, and uses his feet to play these stomp boxes - which sounds like someone is hitting a bongo just by him stomping his feet. He's got the three different pitched didgeridoos setup right next to him (you know, the Australian instrument that makes that low warbling sound, as heard in the Survivor Australia theme?), he's got a guitar in his lap sometimes, sometimes he's got sticks to play a drum set that's constructed around him, sometimes he's got shakers, sometimes he's got a harmonica strapped to his head, sometimes there's bells strapped to his ankle. Oh yeah - and he's singing while he's got all this happening.

Crazy? Yes. The result - it sounds like a full on band playing these songs - but it's just him. Honest to God, at some points, each limb of his body is acting independently keeping a different beat and rhythm, meanwhile he's alternating harmonica-ing, didgeridoo-ing, and sing-ing (I guess that last one didn't need the dash).

What does it sound like? Try blending Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, and Rusted Root. It's soulful, important sounding music about love, the environment, and the people of Australia. Plus, he's got a wicked wail. Some songs are rocking to the point where people are up and jamming (To Let), some are quiet beautiful melodies (Green Spandex), some are just flat out percussion jams (I don't even know if they're titled), but all are awesome.

Kate said he looked like a Hobbit. That's pretty accurate - plus he's from Australia, and aren't hobbits from New Zealand? Basically the same thing. But he's mega-sweet.

Intrigued? Feel free to pilage my Get File for his complete album collection, along with some live shows. He's now officially been added to my list of "Artists Who Should Be Very Popular, But Aren't - What's the Matter With You America?" along with Guster and Ben Folds.