10-hour car ride worthwhile, performance like ‘drinking sunshine’

Parker Willis

A few weeks ago, I decided to take a trip to Chicago to see an Xavier Rudd concert. In short, I’d say watching Xavier Rudd play live was like drinking sunshine.

At first thought, I was skeptical of taking a ten hour car ride to see an artist I had only heard a couple of times, but I was quickly reassured by the car full of musicians I traveled with that my journey was not a mistake. As soon as I saw Rudd, a smiling, bed-headed, barefooted, Australian, on stage I knew it was going to be a good show.

Having missed the first two songs, Rudd was already sitting inside his instrument fort where he proceeded to play every thing in his reach.

He played guitar, Weissenborn slide guitar, three yidaki’s (didgeridoo’s), a stomp box, djembes, harmonica and various drums and other percussion instruments arranged around him.

At one point the crowd sang “Let Me Be” so loud that Rudd, smiling the whole time, played himself out of the song and let the crowd finish.

His happy demeanor and lyrics sprinkled with environmentally conscious beliefs really shine through in his upbeat, almost jam-band style songs, while his aboriginal world outlook shows more in his yidaki heavy tunes that sound like native Australian house music.

Now I know from recent experience college students would rather stick red-hot pokers in their ears than to listen to any music with a message or any type of recognizable and pleasant melody to it.

But like Rudd says in his song “Messages,” “Some people just won’t understand these things.”

So for those of you who understand, check him out. He has plenty of videos on YouTube and a MySpace account.

Currently Hastings has Solace. And the cashier at Sam Goody said she just sold the last copy of White Moth, Rudd’s latest album, which came out in June of last year.

But she said the store will have Rudd’s three US released albums available.

Good songs to look for are “Better People,” “Twist” and “Come Let Go” from White Moth; “Messages” and “Fortune Teller” from Food in the Belly; and “Shelter,” “Let Me Be,” “Journey Song” and “A 4th World” from Solace.