Xavier Rudd Mana

Xavier Rudd & The United Nations

Having released 8 studio albums in 13 years & with a seemingly never ending run of tour dates around the world, Xavier Rudd could make reasonable claim to being one of the most productive musicians in the business. Possessing the ability to combine guitar, vocals, drums, harmonica, Yidaki (Didgerido) & whatever else he damn well pleases into a song, he manages to make an absolute mockery of the age old saying that “Men can only do one thing at a time”.

Recently heading into uncharted territory as a fully fledged front man, Rudd has recruited 8 musicians from over the globe to release his latest LP “Nanna” under the band name “Xavier Rudd & The United Nations”. With a string of shows already under their belt, the 9 piece tour de force is kicking off a huge national tour in Darwin, before hitting Cairns for 2 huge sold out shows at The Tanks in August.

No stranger to the region of Cairns, Xavier’s first visit was back in 2005, riding a wave of success after his breakout single “Let me be” from the platinum selling album “Solace”. Handed the daunting task of opening for international artists, Jack Johnson + G. Love & Special Sauce at the convention centre, Xavier absolutely owned the night. Completely upstaging the main event, the most rambunctious cheer of the night was afforded to him as he returned to stage to join Jack & G Love for an all star jam. No doubt winning over many new fans on the night, he returned 12 months later to headline his own sold out show at Kuranda Amphitheatre. Laughing in the face of a monsoonal trough, Xavier played a show to a flooded amphitheatre that solidified his connection with the Far North, which ensured repeated visits over the years.

Renowned as being a solo artist throughout his career, Xavier explains “Putting a band together like this is something I’ve always wanted to do to. The timing just felt right & I’ve been having a blast doing it. The album came out really groovy & I’m loving the band at the moment.” Admitting the recording process as a vastly different experience to previous efforts, he had to learn to thin his parts out & leave more room to what he was used to. It was a process that while no doubt came as a challenge, the final result was a hugely rewarding & enjoyable experience. “With that many members, there’s such a strong spirit & story behind each person, with their own background & then to vibe all of that into these songs… I’m just really proud of how it all came out”

Listening through Xavier’s discography, it’s evident this is an artist who has never shied away from showing his emotions to the world. Talking about the recording process & the emotional journey between albums, he explains “I always find nothing is a constant story. I’m not consciously changing the sound of my recordings, it’s just what comes out naturally. I’ve been writing since I was a little kid & even before I knew what I was doing, it’s just a part of me. My music is usually 6 months ahead of my journey anyway. I sometimes won’t understand what I was singing about or trying to express until 6 months later. It’s just a display of my spiritual journey & it reflects in the music. It’s an organic flow where I try to separate my ego and let the music come through.”

A Xavier Rudd live show has always contained a powerful energy that is hard to explain unless you’ve witnessed it yourself. It’s interesting to hear his own take on what makes his shows so special. “It’s a really powerful, emotional place when I’m up on stage. It’s full everything & to be honest all a bit of a blur. I feel this spiritual activity moving through me & it’s like I get transported to another zone. It doesn’t feel like I’m up there entertaining, I’m more just channelling the music as a host & everyone in the crowd is experiencing the same thing & returning the energy. I get so lost in the moment & sometimes open my eyes to see someone in the crowd & it’s like they’re feeling the same emotion. I can’t say I know for sure what they’re thinking, but they’re vibing the same channel.

It’s this getting lost in the moment that led to his own son being lost in a blur at a recent show. “Apparently my son was down the front row trying to get my attention & I didn’t even register. My bass player spotted him & he’s telling me afterwards how he was there the whole time yelling for me & I was that lost on stage, I had nothing.. haha, all I could say was, sorry mate”

For those lucky enough to have acquired tickets to the sold out shows, Xavier says he can’t wait to introduce his new band to “One of my favourite places in the world” and promises that with 2 nights on offer, they’ll be sure to mix it up between nights. For those that have missed out, rest assured, Xavier foresees himself returning to his more traditional solo act in the future & if history is anything to go by, it won’t be long before he returns to Cairns on the back of yet another album release.

Xavier Rudd & The United Nations play Tanks Art Centre on August 12th & 13th.

Andy Parkinson

© Copyright 2024 | NQ Music Press