Xavier Rudd, already known for being a pretty cheery guy, looked happier than ever as he performed with his seven-piece band last night at Beachland Ballroom. Touring in support of Nanna, Rudd's first album as a bandleader, the group took a terrific crowd on an exciting romp through a lot of the new material.
A certain highlight came right from the liner notes of the album as the band played "Rusty Hammer" (stream the studio cut below), and then when right into "Rainbow Serpent" and "Creancient" — a dynamite trifecta on CD and a wellspring of energy onstage. Amid the transitions within and between songs, Rudd would introduce various members of the band and urge a solo or a new direction in the jam.
Ebbing from high-energy reggae dance frenzies to more drawn-out, delicate crooning, the band did a great job and keeping the setlist engaging all night. When he brought out his didgeridoo, the crowd went insane.
Also noteworthy: The band's emotional cover of "Time After Time" was incredible.
(My girlfriend and I happened to get caught in the bar as the band transitioned into the encore. Rudd stayed onstage to play some solo stuff, and, barred from re-entry to the ballroom for a moment, we struck up conversation with the musicians before they ducked back onstage for the finale. The whole band just seems like a bunch of really terrific people.)
It was great seeing Rudd again — and in a setting where he was able to expound on the sort of stuff he was playing last time he was in town.