Bermudian/Canadian artist Mishka is the perfect opening act for an artist like Xavier Rudd. His music, which is full of socially conscious lyrics coupled with reggae beats, is well-matched. Born in Bermuda to a Bermudian father and Canadian mother, he has played music from a very young age. His show was very bare-bones with himself, his acoustic guitar, a stool, a microphone, and his friend Jerry on acoustic guitar accompanying him. Ending off his 30 minute set with the song “Above the Bones” from his third album he was warmly applauded and appreciated by the crowd.
Going to a Xavier Rudd show is like watching a multi-tasker at the top of his game. Starting off his career as a one man band opening shows for other acts, Rudd did not use looping machines or tie cymbals to his knees, he just played all instruments at once and filled many a venue with his large sound. Now, a few years and albums later, he is no longer the opening act, but rather the headliner. But he is still a one man band despite the fact that he travels with two accompanying musicians. Though the two musicians were quite talented in their own right, especially the bassist, the barefooted Rudd remains the focal point onstage.
He started off this show behind his drums, percussion, harmonica, Weissenborn slide guitar, and beloved three didgeridoos. After tree songs he came out front and center to play a big, beautiful and red Gibson. Even out front he does not move around that much. It is almost like he is a trance due to his music. A couple of times while his band was performing long instrumental passages he would come out from side stage and dance joyously in the middle of the stage. It was an interesting change of pace for a performer who is usually tied to his instruments. The show was made up of many different small moments like this. It is incredible to watch a performer who has built up this type of rapport with his audiences.
This general lack of movement is interesting because everything about Xavier Rudd’s music is about movement. The sounds he creates is an interesting mix of traditional native Australian music, reggae and tribal beats. Rudd’s sound is rather unique and at the same time it will remind you of artists like Paul Simon, Bob Marley, Dave Matthews, or Ben Harper. Like these artists Rudd addresses plenty of social issues in his songs. Rudd focuses particularly on the environment and the rights of Australian aboriginals.
This was the most packed show at the Metropolis I had been to for a long while. Rudd attracts crowds and they are made up of a wide variety of people. There were t-shirt and flip flop people, shoeless, older, younger, polo and baggy short wearers, people with dreadlocks, black, white, etc. His music has a universal and primal quality to it.
This crowd is truly part of the show. You can’t say that about many concerts. Xavier Rudd and his audience collectively create something. The crowd was continuously moving, bouncing, dancing…all moving to the beats provided to them. You are powerless to not move when he plays.
His fan base is incredibly devoted. They know all the words to his songs, to the point that they were able to take over from him at a moment’s notice. Incredible to watch and hear. This was a perfect night of live music. Perfect summer show and a nice way to end off one of the few nice (non-rainy) days this summer.
Photos by Maha Haddad
Permission for photos by Salt X.Records