Australian singer-songwriter, Xavier Rudd, has been selling out shows in North America and Canada on his Storm Boy Tour and is set to return to Australia for a huge tour in August, with shows lined up for all the major cities, before moving on to Europe and the UK. The tour will feature music from his recently released ninth studio album, Storm Boy, including his latest hit Walk Away. Known for touching on political and social issues through his music, while providing a uniquely Australian sound, his new album has been long awaited and tracks his journey over the last six years since his last solo release, Spirit Bird.
Xavier Rudd has been a Sennheiser user for over 10 years, using an array of mics for his unique performance set-up, so it was a natural step for him to become an officially endorsed Sennheiser artist. Simon Keet, Front of House Engineer and Production Manager, has been working with Xavier for eight years and was looking for a solution to make life easier on the road with equipment that he could rely on and reached out to Sennheiser as his ideal choice. “We do a lot of touring and have little downtime with our gear back at home. All of our equipment needs to be tough and reliable. Between our wireless gear and mics, a lot of it doesn’t get treated as well as it should and needs to be up to the task. A number of mics in our touring gear have been on the road for over ten years and we still use them every show. That’s important to us,” said Simon.
With the new partnership with Sennheiser, Simon was looking for a number of new mics for Xavier, and in particular his vocal mic, “We have gone with the MD431 for Xavier’s vocal,” he explained, “it seems to fit the nice middle ground between the clarity and presence of a vocal condenser and the tighter pattern control and higher gain before feedback of a dynamic.” Both he and Xavier have been very happy with this option for vocals explaining, “it’s really helpful to have a mic that we both like. It means neither of us are using something out of sufferance for the other’s preference.”
Xavier has a very unique set-up on stage, which can prove challenging. This was another reason it has been beneficial to develop the relationship with Sennheiser, allowing the team to try some different mics and find a solution that works, particularly for his percussion setup and for miking up his didgeridoos. “Xavier’s percussion and setup is very unique, everything is very close together and it can be a real challenge to get the microphones in a position that works for everyone. The e908 has really helped,” Simon explains. Xavier’s didgeridoos are also an integral part of his performance so they needed a reliable solution that was up to the task, while not restricting Xavier’s movement on stage. “Xavier’s Yidakis (didgeridoos) are a critical part of the show. They are a really powerful instrument with so many harmonics, we use the e908 on these for a number of reasons. They capture the sound really well, they are small and discrete enough to not be cumbersome on stage and we can use the same mic straight into our wireless transmitter packs when Xav goes running around with the Yidi.”
The full kit also includes new mics for drums (e904), for percussion including cymbals and chimes (e914), and for kick drum and guitar amps (MD421s), as well as MKE 600 for audience mics and IEMs for Xavier and the rest of the band.