Live Review: Xavier Rudd & The United Nations, Bobby Alu

22 September 2015 | 9:21 am | Jonty Czuchwicki

"The entire venue was thickly shrouded in a dense and mysterious atmosphere."

Xavier Rudd & The United Nations rolled through Adelaide carrying their ocean of good vibes along with them. Fresh from an appearance at Splendour In The Grass, Mr Rudd is currently selling out venues and playing consecutive shows across the country, and for good reason. Xavier Rudd & The United Nations are one of the most unique live experiences Australia has to offer. 

Bobby Alu and his band ensemble opened up the proceedings with chilled ukulele melodies that would transport one straight to a calm Hawaiian beachfront. The soothing vocal style that Alu has cemented himself with is infectious, seemingly unravelling the stress and tension of your daily life and guiding your mind towards a state of elation. At certain points within the set the entire band would break out into groovy percussive segments, peppered with riotous accents and fierce speed. The energy was great and it was a fitting way to begin the ultra-fine evening to come.

From the minute Xavier Rudd & The United Nations stepped on stage and began to play, the entire venue was thickly shrouded in a dense and mysterious atmosphere. When the players, sound system and engineer are all of unparalleled skill the combined effect is deadly. Every instrument blended seamlessly and the coasting reggae bounce had the sold out crowd swaying gently to the beat. Rudd's distinct vocals boom across the room, spreading messages of peace, love and equality — combined with his onstage personality, it's an absolute treat. Rudd often picks up the didgeridoo, which he plays with great confidence and skill. These moments are some of the most exciting in the performance. Georgia Carowa and Alicia Mellor add a fantastic element of layering as backing vocalists, but it's when they come to the forefront for their solos that they are really able to shine; they certainly warrant more dynamic roles in the band. Bobby Alu returns to the stage, this time as the drummer of Xavier Rudd's United Nations, and how fantastic he was. Alu's rhythmic precision is undeniable. Chris Lane's contribution on the saxophone was essential, but it was bassist Tio Moloantoa who truly stole the show with one hell of a bass solo. Not ones to undersell their crowd, the band played for a full two hours, and every minute was enjoyable.