Supported by Donovan Frankenreiter & Nahko and Medicine for the People

Reviewed by Emma Dean

I’d always heard amazing things about Xavier Rudd, but had never had a chance to see him live so I jumped at the chance when this gig came up.

First up were US tribal “thump-hoppers” Nahko and Medicine for the People. The first thing I have to say about these guys is I have NEVER seen such passion from a group of musicians and as a result, as corny as it sounds, the whole room was full of energy and happiness. Infectious and genuine, the band captured the crowd’s heart with their mix of raw, heartfelt lyrics and upbeat tunes. I’ve also never seen the crowd beg the first opening band for an encore. Pure magic.

Californian ex-surfer Donovan Frankenreiter was next, scaling the night back with a duo surf rock acoustic set. Very popular with the crowd, he even had several eager fans up on stage singing along to Life, Love and Laughter and It Don’t Matter.

Finally the lights dimmed and Xavier Rudd’s complicated drum/didgeridoo/every instrument known to man contraption was revealed as a shroud of smoke enveloped the stage. As images of endangered species, and pristine Australian landscapes were projected behind, Rudd opened with the sombre Bow Down, showcasing how he uses his amazing multi-instrumentalist talents to campaign for a better world.

Continuing on with Follow The Sun and the title track from last year’s LP Spirit Bird and a cover of the 1971 Bill Wither’s hit Ain’t No Sunshine well and truly warmed the crowd up. Playing a broad selection of his impressive back catalogue and displaying amazing drum solos, Rudd had the crowd in high spirits and singing along to every word.

It was a great night of pure music and it’s gigs like this that restore my faith in humanity.


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