BY Will Garing

These three know how to end a sold-out national tour with a bang, and in their hometown no less.  

Last Friday night I was fortunate enough to catch Aussie alt-dance trio, RÜFÜS DU SOL, at Sydney’s Carriageworks. The band, consisting of Jon George, Tyrone Lindqvist and James Hunt, returned for a three-night Vivid headline performance as the grand finale to their national tour. This tour comes off the release of their latest album SOLACE. Now, just as a disclaimer, this is not my first time seeing the electro band kick it live. I was also caught them headline at Field Day earlier this year, where I was blown away by their performance. This time around I was excited to get a chance seeing them in action with an uncondensed set length and in a more intimate space.

The band’s opener Willaris K. began the night with an alternative electric groove that was a surprisingly accurate taste of the atmosphere to come. While not as lyrically based as the main act, Willaris K. delivered the trance indie dance beats needed to be a delightful mood setter.

RÜFÜS DU SOL emerged onto stage in wonder. Following an intro, they opened with ‘Eyes’, giving us a taste of the electronic-vibey bangers to come. Tyrone’s unique voice was as gentle and as ethereal as the studio recordings, and this strong performance was matched by Jon and James on the beats and drums. Make no mistake, these guys are not lacking talent - and I don’t just say that as a fan. Their indie electronic style has echoed across Australia’s music scene and beyond since their debut, and has had a huge influence on the genre. Their live performance has all the catchiness of the best of indie pop, and all the crowd engagement of mainstream EDM, minus the often-formulaic nature of the latter genre. They played one of their first smash singles, ‘Take Me’, from their debut album Atlas. Despite their transformation and development as artists since that release, was just as hitting as their newer releases. Other notable tracks were ‘Like an Animal’, ‘You Were Right’, the beautifully reflective ‘Solace’, ‘Underwater’ and easily the crowd favourite ‘Treat You Better’. My favourite performance of the night was ‘Innerbloom’, which was a goosebump-inducing experience.

The Carriageworks setting was refreshingly breathable and felt vast with its high roof interior. The light set up used by RÜFÜS DU SOL was an incredible highlight, and worthy of Sydney’s 2019 Vivid festival. The gig at times felt like an elaborate light show as well as a concert. Colourful and futuristic laser lights lit up the room when the dance beat dropped to an amazing effect (think a rave minus the hardstyle and ‘muzzing’). I do believe they could have used this effect more, but I’m not complaining.

At the end of the gig I was left breathless. While surface level critics occasionally comment upon a lack of variation in the group’s various songs, I didn’t think of this as a detriment to the gig. From start to finish I was captivated by the bendy beats, the reflective vocals, and the wavy atmosphere. When I looked around all I saw were smiling faces washed in colourful lights. Hands were raised and twirling with the music. Groups hugging each other at the end. Simply, the whole thing was beautiful. This was a concert where the crowd not only sang and danced to RÜFÜS DU SOL’s music, but also they witnessed it. We all witnessed it. It was the definition of an experience, and the perfect way to end Vivid 2019.

Header image by Derek Rickert (via Carriageworks)

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