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Xavier the Great

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Conquering the world with his organic one man band

WHO: Xavier Rudd

WHERE: Boot Pub

WHEN: Friday and Saturday, July 4 - 5

Reporting entertainment is like detective work. It involves a series of deductions about a performer based on pieces of evidence glued together to complete a story.

Xavier Rudd, or Ruddy, as he’s affectionately known in his native Australia, is going to be huge.

How did I come to this conclusion? Three sell-out shows last winter in his adopted Whistler are a pretty good indication. And the feat was repeated from coast to coast across Canada.

Considering Rudd has never been aired here on mainstream radio, never made a music video and never made an in-store appearance, that’s a pretty good indication we’re onto something big. Rudd sold out of all his independent CDs in Alaska the first time he ever went there last season and in Whistler his sophomore CD, To Let , was snapped up faster than the house draft beer special.

It’s no wonder then that the slide guitarist, foot drum beater and didgeridoo blower is back for the summer with another two shows and a new live CD tucked into his one-man band arsenal. Recorded live at The Grid in Courtenay, B.C., the third offering must be a cracker considering my reviewers copy was "stolen" somewhere between the concert organiser’s office, the Boot Pub and the Pique’s Function Junction headquarters. Yet another testament to Rudd’s popularity – who steals reviewer CDs?

So while I can’t comment on the live CD, At The Grid , I can tell you it is a very special album for Mr. Rudd himself and his friends.

"It was a last minute thing at first where I did a gig for a friend who was having the opening of a studio cum venue called The Grid. It was a beautiful night and a really happy vibe so we put a tape in to record. The next day I found out about the Bali bombings – the 12 th October. So when I got home soon after from Canada I listened to the tape and thought it was good as is and decided to dedicate it to the memory of the victims".

So what it’s like to go to an Xavier Rudd show. Rudd blends organic vocals, humming and bushman mumbling with at-one-with-the-land world music instruments. His set-up on stage looks like a tribal sacrifice to the Gods of peace and happiness.

His loyal followers usually feature a collection of dancing pixies mixed within a sea of smiling faces. An impressive collection of head high Australian Aboriginal didgeridoos, a home-made stomp box, several wooden shakers and distinctly authentic djembes surround the barefoot, boyish and scruffy looking Rudd. Despite his shy and humble disposition, the Aussie wonder from Down Under seems to relish being the tribal chief, blending earthly instruments with six and twelve string acoustic, electric and slide guitars.

Rudd’s international career has gone from strength to strength since his Commonwealth cousins in the north took him under their wing several years ago, and he acknowledges the Canadian fans for being so loyal.

In the last year he’s gone from small bars and cafes in B.C and Alberta to the massive summer festival circuit back home, sharing the stage with names like Ben Harper, John Butler and Spearhead.

He’s now in the U.S. wrapping up his first American tour supporting Dan Bern and Ani De Franco.

"I’ll always remember Canada as being the place where things started to roll for me, " said Rudd. "I was playing there more than Australia and the people who came to my show are always great people. There’s always happy, peaceful vibes in the room and nothing weird going down and that really helps keep it all going. Canada is always amazing to play for me because it’s so aesthetically beautiful and then you play to a bunch of people who feel the earth and it’s vibes every day and celebrate that."

Tickets to Xavier Rudd are $12 in advance from Ticketmaster or the Boot Pub Ph: 604-932-3338. Doors open at 8 p.m. Show starts 10 p.m. See www.upstreamentertainment.com for more details.

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