Words - Darcy Coombs
Photography - Alan Jin
Having played a string of twenty five overseas gigs since March, including a slot at Coachella, RÜFÜS finally brought their live show back home. Both their debut album Atlas and their sophomore record Bloom have garnered huge support worldwide, not least in Australia. Having locked in two shows at Festival Hall in Melbourne only adds to the fact that they are arguably one of Australia’s biggest dance music exports in recent times.
It was only natural that we decided to join in on the ‘Sundream’ on Friday night.
The support acts RÜFÜS had selected appeared well thought out and provided a smooth Segway of sounds leading up to the main event.
First off the ranks were Byron Bay locals Tora, who provided a suave opening of creamy jazz-inspired electronic music to break-in the ears of the early birds. The boys are currently working on their debut album, and from what they put forth, look primed to occupy a niche in Australia’s electronic scene.
The second support act Bob Moses, out of Canada, kicked it up a gear, bridging the sounds of blues and house music. Though their genre of choice is already stacked, their music is 'simple-done-well' with flaunting resonating bass lines, crispy percussion and eerie vocal phrases and provided the means to get the sold out crowd amped for the main event. Lead singer of RÜFÜS Tyrone Lindqvist said the boys were “the best thing they saw at Coachella”, providing the reasoning behind dragging the boys to Australia to support them.
By the time RÜFÜS took to the stage, the Hall was completely filled and there was a feeling of anxiousness and excitement amongst the rowdy throng. This was reinforced by the war cry of “Fuck Bitches, let’s get RÜFÜS’d!” by one keen punter in the toilet.
RÜFÜS got the ball rolling with a track from Bloom titled ‘Brighter’, asking the crowd if they “could feel the sunshine?” It almost felt like that track was built for the beginning of shows, and in doing so, delivered a playful opening to everyone present.
The boys then brought out singer Dena Amy for their track ‘Hypnotised.’ Though Dena wasn’t nearly prominent enough in the mix, it showed a sweet and charming duet between her and Tyrone, bringing a tender side to the band.
Their 10-minute bliss-fest ‘Innerbloom’ took the crowd on a journey, with many shouting Tyrone’s playful lyrics at each other at various points in the track. The tune itself broke up the live show perfectly, allowing everyone to sigh and embrace each other rather than boogie down.
The musicianship of the band itself, despite the simplicity of their music, is extremely evident. Drummer James Hunt brings the percussion section on every track to a new level, adding rigorous fills wherever possible while always maintaining the strong four-to-the-floor backbone their music requires.
Jon George, in charge of bass and keyboards, would often play bass lines and synths on a sample pad, adding a different interpretation of sound that often only appear as loops in other band’s live shows.
In a sense, RÜFÜS’ sound has been perfected rather than reinvented. No one would argue against the fact that their melodies and song themes don’t change dramatically from track to track. Despite this, RÜFÜS use this cyclic song writing to their advantage, allowing the band to effectively play a DJ set with live instrumentation.
They did this by injecting synth fills and bass lines from other tracks onto others, teasing the crowd with whatever track they had line up next. They even completely changed up the melody of their closing track “Take Me” to give a different entry point to one of Australia’s biggest dance tracks in recent memory.
RÜFÜS have now become a festival and big venue staple across the world. They have a refined sound that has been coupled with a fantastic and engaging live show of lighting, sonic textures and simply put, musicianship.
In an electronic music age of laptop heroes, RÜFÜS bring a refreshing presence and properly defines the phrase ‘live music’. As such, they challenge other bands to do the same.
Darcy Coombs hides behind his computer as the beat scribe for his band Otious. You'll find him voicing his opinions in 'Read'. He also hasn't grown a millimetre since he was 14.