Concert review: Xavier Rudd [Queen Elizabeth Theater, May 21, 2010]

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Toronto – When I go to a concert, 2/3 of the time I have little allegiance to the band, if I knew them at all. This was one of those shows. As it happens, we were sufficiently intrigued by the didgeridoo alone. Seriously, how can you not be? The venue was also a draw – neither me nor Ricky has ever been there. So after arriving 9pm on the dot, we were ushered into the huge and newly decorated theater. Xavier Rudd trio came out promptly to a crowd of about 600, and it immediately became a standing affair.

With the flag of Aboriginal Australia over Rudd and that of South Africa over the drummer, the set looked almost like a head-to-head beat-off. The first song continued for 10 minutes. It was along a very enjoyable rhythm and Ricky thought it would be perfect for the opening of  The Beach (the movie): carefree and footloose with the peace, love, drug and sex typical of hippies. And Rudd certainly dress the part. Photo-ops were abundant, too (more pics after the link). But several songs later I begin to find inconsistencies between that image and the music. Granted, you do not want to listen to him on a CD – it will probably makes all those long wolf-howling chorus much less expansive. But as elements of rock, world, Caribbean music works their way into the concert, you begin to wonder how this comes together. The didge was used mostly for effects, I thought. It was more like a beat device or a throat singing simulator, and he even electronically made the guitar like a didgeridoo once.

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Although I did mention that his brand of tenor-pop should really be heard live, it’s really a shame that Xavier Rudd only provides 3 30 sec samples on his myspace page – a little stingy in this day and age. I cannot name any of the songs save to describe their general style as above. The performance, however, was a completely different matter. Perceiving himself more celebrity than a singer/songwriter, Rudd constantly addresses the crowd and plays to their tune. “How’s it feeling TO-RON-TO” was uttered at least 4 times and sung once in the midst. Trying to incite the crowd, he danced and twirled around at one point, only to complain about his guitar not working 30 secs later. At the 3 or 4th song a girl climbed on-stage but was quickly booted-off by security with no response from the band. This happened for a few more times. Yet near the end of the set, he invited around 75+ people to mosh on the stage. I’m not sure if he became more pliant over the idea, or he finally gave up. But letting people dance during the merry-making river-dancing tempo-increasing portion of the gig seemed very calculated. Overall, it was an interesting show at a gorgeous theater. The crowd certainly got into it (even if quite a few couldn’t keep the beat). Too bad the music and performance wasn’t as exciting for me.

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Posted on by Gary in Concerts, Everything, Reviews

One Response to Concert review: Xavier Rudd [Queen Elizabeth Theater, May 21, 2010]

  1. Melissa Monte

    I just saw Xavier Rudd is Los Angeles May 2 and ut was incredible. Check out this review from YouTellConcerts.

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