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Live Music Friday – Xavier Rudd, live at Bonnaroo Music Festival

Welcome back to another Live Music Friday here at Burgo’s Blog. Today, we’ll be featuring someone a little closer to my (adoptive) home… Australian musician, Xavier Rudd.

One of my favourite shows of 2007 was an Xavier Rudd gig on the Gold Coast… in fact, I even put up a post about it, although that post was more about his opening act, Jeremy Fisher. Nevertheless, that night with Xavier was one of the most powerful shows I’ve been to in recent memory. There is an energy and passion in Xavier Rudd’s music that you would be hard pressed to find in most other artists.

Although Xavier Rudd sometimes gets mixed in with the rest of the surfer-folkie crowd (ala Jack Johnson, Donovan Frankenreiter & Tim Curran), I’d probably place his music more in that slightly harder mix of Ben Harper & Co., with a more activist view present in his music. Not only does Rudd display a strong connection with the aboriginal people of the world through his music, he’s also a leading light for environmentally-conscious musicians.

Finally, anyone who has seen Xavier Rudd perform before will know what an inventive musician he is live; often performing as a one-man-band, Rudd masters percussion, the slide guitar, and… of course… his well known ability on the didgeridoo. In fact, in my mind, he’s one of the top dij players in Australia, point blank. Here’s a video to show his versatility…

Anyway, enough background, and on to the show at hand. The set I’ve posted below is Xavier Rudd performing live at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in 2007, right around the time that he released his stunning album, White Moth.
It’s a great set, and one that finds him performing personal favourites, “Messages“, “Message Stick“, “Famine“, “Come Let Go” and “Gift Of The Trees“. It’s everything that is right with great live recordings, and makes you feel as if you’re in the tent with Xavier himself… thanks go to the original recorder.

Listen. Love. Support.

Xavier Rudd, live at Bonnaroo Music Festival on June 16, 2007

1.) Fortune Teller
2.) Food In The Belly
3.) Messages
4.) Message Stick
5.) Stargaze
6.) Famine
7.) Come Let Go
8.) Better People
9.) Up In Flames (Jam)
10.) Conceal Me
11.) Iron Man (Jam)
12.) Let Me Be
13.) The Gift of the Trees
14.) Footprint
15.) To Let (Jam)
16.) To Let

Xavier Rudd’s new album, “Dark Shades of Blue”, comes out August 19th. You can be sure I’ll be first in line.

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Jeremy Fisher – Goodbye Blue Monday

So on Sunday, I managed to score tickets to Xavier Rudd’s “White Moth Tour” at the Gold Coast Convention Centre; as usual, Xavier was fantastic. His set was perhaps more aggressive than I’ve seen in the past, but that only urged the crowd on all the more.

However, this post is not about Xavier Rudd; everyone already knows how talented he is, and if you don’t, you really should check out his site, or listen at his myspace. Instead, I wanted to write a quick post about his opening act, Jeremy Fisher.
Fisher has already become a mini-celebrity on Youtube, thanks to the music video (which he made himself), for his song, “Cigarette”. Take a look at this superb video, bearing in mind that each frame is an individual photo (talk about painstaking!) below:

Fisher is no stranger to putting in a lot of effort to getting his music out there though; in 2002, he biked across the entire width of Canada, from Seattle to Halifax, Nova Scotia to promote his first album, Back Porch Spirituals. The journey took 6 months, 30 official shows, a number of impromptu performances, and honest-to-goodness old school busking. This is a kid that’s not afraid of work.

Despite all of this, it’s only now that the music of Jeremy Fisher is finally beginning to reach a larger audience. Now, onto the performance in question…

He opened up the night to a crowd that was still trickling in. His first words were, “I thought I’d start now, before too many people come in… you know, and spoil the whole intimacy that we have right now”. I knew right there that this guy was going to be fun.

His first song was the beautiful “Left Behind”, which was the perfect way to begin the night. This song reminded me of a young Paul Simon, with his dexterous fingerpicking and boyish voice. That influence was confirmed later in the night, when Fisher performed a cover of Simon’s “The Boxer” (how could I not love this kid?).
Throughout the night though, Fisher showed his other influences; Dylan was an obvious one, especially in the “Hurricane Carter-ish” opening chords of “Lay Down (Ballad of Rigoberto Alpizar)”. It became clear that Jeremy Fisher believes that music needs to say something… in fact, he’s said previously that both his song “American Girls” (dealing with the mistreatment of Iraqui prisoners at Abu Ghraib), and “The Ballad of Rigoberto Alpizar” “are both about events that are monumental but not nearly as important as the fact that a certain superstar wasn’t wearing underwear when she got out of a limo. This is a very weird culture we live in.”
I also noticed a bit of Hawksley Workman in there; not a big surprise, when I found out that Hawksley was actually the producer on his latest album, “Goodbye Blue Monday“.

Enough about influences; let’s get down to the real stuff. He’s a fantastically fun performer, sparring with the audience the entire way through his set. There’s something about this guy.
He’s obviously seen a lot, but there’s still this innocence and optimism that he projects, that eventually drags you in. It really is impossible to resist. He gives you hope. He gives you strength. And you know that things are going to be ok, as long as we join him in his stand.

I ran down to the merch table to get the CD. A couple of guys were running up as I got there. We all just looked at each other and smiled. And that’s the gift that Jeremy Fisher gives to us.

Here are a few songs below. Listen. Love. Support.

Listen: Jeremy Fisher – Left Behind
Listen: Jeremy Fisher – Lay Down (Ballad of Rigoberto Alpizar)


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