For some musicians, it takes a plethora of man-made computers to make an audience get on its feet and dance.
For one man, all it takes is his own creativity, skill and the tools that Mother Earth provides.
That man is Xavier Rudd.
The Australian-born songwriter is a rising star in the music industry, and it only took a few songs recently at the 9:30 Club in the District to figure out why.
Rudd is the epitome of a one-man band. Normally while on tour, he plays the guitar and harmonica, he sings, he keeps his own percussion, and, best of all, he is a master of the didgeridoo, a traditional cylindrical Aboriginal instrument that dates back thousands of years.
That's right. Rudd surrounds himself on stage with a magical assortment of instruments a symphony orchestra would be jealous of. The didgeridoo, or yidaki, is the centerpiece of his arsenal of sound.
On this night in D.C., Rudd brought along a drummer to help out, but his mastery of his tools was the focus of the show.
It's hard to believe, but Rudd can use his tools to turn his concerts into full-on raves. His audiences go into a trance-type state, not just because they can't believe what one man can accomplish with his instruments, but because the sound is just that good.
Rudd has come along way since his early years touring in the U.S. as an opening act for the likes of Ani DiFranco. In those days, Rudd was a newcomer on the American scene -- an oddity of sorts. Here was a blonde-haired Australian kid with a few wooden logs creating a sound seldom heard in the USA.
But from those humble beginnings, Rudd has become a pied piper of sorts, leading his peace-loving followers to places they've only dreamed of.
On this muggy night in D.C., Rudd packed the 9:30 Club with a large assortment of fans. There were your token dread-headed hippies, some older folk who appreciated the intricacy of his music, and the run-of-the-mill college kids who have latched on to a sound not heard on the local radio stations.
Rudd appeased them all.
Like a sherpa, Rudd sat at the top of his mountain of instruments, making beautiful sounds that rained down on his eager followers. The drone of the didgeridoo is a perfect complement to the slide guitar and intense drum beats. Those sounds come together as one to hypnotize the crowd and put them into a musical frenzy.
Despite his current shaggy, bearded look, Rudd would occasionally look up in the middle of a song to see the audience jumping up and down, hooked on every beat. That bearded Buddha would let his boyish grin shine through, knowing that he was leading his followers to Nirvana.
Rudd's awakening to a sound seldom heard lasted for several hours on this night. He pleased the crowd with most of his hits off of his Solace album, which remains to this day a staple in the collection of anyone who owns it. But he also threw in a few of his new songs of his White Moth album, including the Bob-Marleyesque anthem "Come Let Go."
With new drummer in tow, Rudd only increased his capacity for pleasing audiences. While he doesn't have to do it all himself anymore, that extra help gives him the freedom to be even more creative and come up with even more sounds that will entrance the crowds.
It also gives him that chance to look around the packed clubs and see exactly what kind of effect those sounds have on his people.
And when he does, Rudd can relish in the fact that he might just be making the world a better place.