The L’Étoile theatre, Montreal, sees huge crowds two nights in a row as Xavier Rudd’s 70+ date tour is well into its groove.
In the midst of a heat wave you’re welcomed into a beautiful air conditioned theatre, people politely lining up next to the Sea Shepherd table with guests deep in conversation, buying merch and supporting the cause.
The opening act Emmanuel Jal, former child soldier now refugee living in Toronto, mixes story telling and dance into his music, really elevating the energy of the room.
A few volunteers are asked to the stage, most noticeable are two young girls who let their father tag along for “one song”. After 20 minutes of dancing on stage, the unsure father is grooving away with a huge contagious smile and his two left feet have magically become two left feet with rhythm.
It isn’t just the entertainment so far that has a unique feel to it. The bar is selling local natural mixers with their alcohol and it feels strangely healthy.
After the crowd has settled in, Xavier enters the stage, a single light piercing through the darkness to where he stands. He is welcomed by a roar of ecstatic fans, banging on the handrails of the balcony as the beam of light starts to expand, introducing each member of the band. Ethiopia’s Yosa Haile on bass guitar, Lisa Purmodh absolutely on fire on drums and the Gold Coasts very own Ian Peres on keyboards and piano.
Peres is one of those wizards that really adds to the performance, his energy level almost as impressive as his musical skill set. From crowd silencing piano solos to hair raising vocal intros Peres keeps you guessing what is coming next.
Xavier is deep in his zone, playing a high energy set with just the right amount of breathing room and a light show that will keep you entertained from start to finish. With a loyal fan base of this size in Montreal, one can only imagine what the Australian run of the tour is going to be like.
With Rudd kicking off the Australian leg in August you can find upcoming show details at xavierrudd.com