10 Albums, 10 Days – Xavier Rudd, Live in Canada

In February 2002 I was still relatively new to Kamloops and didn’t know too any people outside of my work colleagues.  I lived downtown so I would often just wander around town to kill some time.  While I was wandering around one time I saw a poster for a band called Xavier and the Hum.  They were going to play at the library downtown and best of all, it was going to $2 which was something I could actually afford on my meagre wage at the time.  I did a little bit of internet research on Xavier and the Hum and found out that Xavier was an Australian guy who played didgeridoo.  I think there was one video that I was able to watch to get an idea of what it’d be like.  I decided to go by myself to the concert.  When I got to the library there was an elaborate set-up with a bass drum, a wide assortment of percussion instruments, guitars, and 3 didgeridoos.  It was pretty wild.  Then this wild looking guy in barefeet got up anxavierd started to play all of these instruments, sometimes, simultaneously while also singing with this powerful voice that was controlled yet all over the place all at once.   It was intense, it was amazing, it was absolutely mind blowing.  Having seen a bunch of crappy one-man cover bands at Sergeant O’Flaherty’s over the previous months, this was a breath of fresh air.  I don’t know what happened to the ‘Hum’ part of the band, but Xavier Rudd was enough.

While at the concert I bought the album Live in Canada and like the live show, it blew me away.  Of course, it was recorded live so it was able to capture the frenetic energy of a Xavier Rudd show.  This album was like nothing else in my record collection to that point – the obvious part is that I didn’t have any other albums from Australian didge players.  Epic jam songs, didge solos, mellow songs, slide guitar, primal yet beautiful and a crazy energy associated with it.  ‘To Let’, the second song on the album is like a microcosm of all these elements.  ‘River Groove’ and ‘Like This’ are slow grooves that hang out on a knife’s edge wanting to break out but staying contained…barely.  ‘The Native Eye’ is a great song about is the idiocy of some tourists to foreign cultures who dress the part but are very superficial in their cultural appreciation.  Sadly, I’ve seen this character and perhaps more sadly, I have likely been that character from time to time in my travels. ‘Green Spandex’ is the kind of song that if you lived a good life that meant something to those around you, someone would write.  It’s a wonderful tribute to someone who must have been loved.  The album ends with a mellow song ‘This Little Space’ which is a mix of sadness, anger and hope for a relationship.

That Xavier Rudd concert in February 2002 was helpful in getting me out of the funk I was in trying to get used to Kamloops and being away from home.  Xavier Rudd’s music became a fundamental part of my listening for the next several years after that.  An interesting tid-bit – that concert, which was only attended by maybe 50 people, was likely the first time Leanne and I were ever in the same room together.  It only took us another 10 years to get together…




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