Xavier Rudd at Jannus Live: Feeling the Waver of Xavier

We’ve (presumably) all been to a concert. We paid our money, endured the security shakedown, found our seats and/or preferred spaces, and waited with anticipation for the lights to dim as the not-so-subtle cue that the show is about to begin. Not so with Australian musician Xavier Rudd. Not so at all.

Don’t get me wrong here. I still paid money for a ticket, had my bag explored, found my dancing spot (after a couple of false placements, I ended up right smack in front – didn’t want you to spend the whole article wondering), and held on with bated breath for him to appear. And then WHOOSH, there he was. But he did not surround himself with the dark. No, my friend, he instead called for the lights to be fully blasted onto the fired-up crowd. Without a word, he raised a hand, followed by a single finger, demonstrating through gesture that we are one. Before the show had even begun, hundreds of us had joined Xavier to symbolize our unity.

Xavier Rudd – Photo credit: Hillary Carpenter

Then came the didgeridoo. As he swept the crowd with the powers of his vibrations, we further plugged into not only each other but to our ancestors, our histories, ourselves. A descendant of an Aboriginal Australian, Xavier first mimicked the woeful resonation of the wind instrument by using a vacuum cleaner as a young child. He also took up the guitar, saxophone, and clarinet – all before the age of nineteen. His raw, unmatched connection to music was reflected in every moment of the dynamic display of his talent. Through his words, actions, music, and mere presence, the commitment to his tribal roots was felt to the core. Every throbbing note became a rhythm that reverberated into our souls.

Xavier Rudd – Photo credit: Hillary Carpenter

We were collectively carried through a journey of songs that included “The Mother,” “Rusty Hammer,” “Come People / Sacred,” and “Flag.” The goosebumps overtake my body as I recall how we linked our voices together to recite the opening of “Breeze.” Clasped together in harmony, we raised ourselves and each other far up, to another level of unified experience. We came together yet again during “Come Let Go,” as Xavier once more lead us into joint vocalization, delivering our resolution of love to the world outside of where we had intimately gathered. We lifted the vibration, and one can only hope all of St. Pete felt the undivided wave of solidarity that was generated.

Xavier Rudd – Photo credit: Hillary Carpenter

Xavier Rudd was joined onstage by Ethiopian Yosa Haile. A little back story on Yosa and our brief moment together. He came down the stairs as I waited in the Will Call line with a friend. Me being me, I exclaimed a “Hello!” in his direction. “Hello!” he directed right back. As our eyes locked and all time was suspended, I said the only thing that anyone else in that moment would have… “Do you have an accent?” Our encounter ended as soon as it began, as he reflected a beautiful smile and said, “I believe I do.” Fortunately, I was able to put my tongue-tied ridiculousness in the past and be a present recipient of his smoothly thick bass guitar funk. He carried his own throughout the two-and-a-half-hour show, proving that he had every right to be on that stage.

While Ian Peres absolutely owned the keys, he did not shy away from a chance to change it up with bursts of percussions, clearly another multi-talented musician who added pizzazz to the night. As he bounced from playing instruments to snapping photos of the assembled mass, his vibrancy popped through as brightly as his rainbow suspenders against his all-black clothing. The only thing more magnificent than his hair was his surging energy. Back home in Australia, Ian laid down the bass, organ, piano, and banjo on previous albums with his own band Wolfmother.

Ian Peres with Xavier Rudd – Photo credit: Hillary Carpenter

Saving the best for last, let’s talk about drummer Lisa Purmodh. She absolutely killed it! She carried the root patterns throughout the night. The rise, fall, and flow of the night’s pulse can be traced back to her drums. Lisa is the Australian daughter with Fijian heritage of (Fiji) legend drummer James Purmodh. If her name sounds familiar, it may because you’ve known her to record and tour with Damian, Kymani, and Stephen Marley. She’s also jammed out on recording sessions with Steel Pulse and rubbed elbows with Bunny Wailer. Her development as a masterful musician can be summed up in her statement, “You will only get out of life what you are prepared to put in, and I live and breathe music.”

Xavier Rudd & Lisa Purmodh – Photo credit: Hillary Carpenter

Together, the four artists created an unforgettable evening that extended far beyond music. We came in as individuals, but we left as one. We were reminded through pulsating contractions and firm verbal confirmations that together we can be the change we wish to see.

Xavier Rudd – Photo credit: Hillary Carpenter

It is not lost on this writer that the Xavier Rudd kismet concoction of vibrations came through this town on the date recognized as the International Day of Peace. It was also the day millions of protestors throughout the world took to the streets as part of the global climate strike. Personally, it was also the fourth anniversary of the day I transitioned into Reiki Master. Yes, September 21, 2019, was indeed a powerful day of change that led into a substantial night of healing.

“And I believe we are one and we are sacred.” – Xavier Rudd, “Sacred”

Here is Xavier Rudd from the 2018 Levitate Music Festival:

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