When I first saw Rüfüs Du Sol at Splendour In The Grass 2014 the trio were already on the way up. At the time, Rüfüs were enjoying their first flushes of success, the kind most Australian artists could only envy. Watching them onstage tonight it strikes me just how far they've come.
Rufus are big. Their music doesn’t just speak to the kids or the dance crowd, it speaks to everybody. They make music and emotion that gets through to the middle. But for all their strides the basics of trio’s sound remains fundamentally unchanged. Tyrone Lindqvist, Jon George and James Hunt still make a music profoundly melancholy. Yet it's also uplifting.
Rufus’ songs are body moving too. Those present tonight are here to dance. While some pof their number flee to the bar or hide under trees at the sight of the first of the night's many flare ups of torrential rain, most are all-in. They dance in time and out of it. Others simply stand transfixed.
Tyrone's stage banter is a little stilted, but the crowd loves it. Rufus' music sounds close to what you hear on their records, but with a bassy boom that hits in the gut the way home speakers can’t.
As the three cut into ‘Treat You Better’ the sky opens for yet more rain. The smart ones have brought ponchos and now pull them over. The smarter ones are grooving stage center unperturbed. ‘You Were Right’ follows not long after, beginning the set’s ascent to its energetic peak.
‘Underwater’ comes next. It’s raining heavily now. Many of those not already amongst the thick of it rush in. ‘Underwater’ is arguably the biggest hit from ‘Solace’ and it’s obvious that to many of those present it’s something that moves them. Even more so than ‘You Were Right’.
The band is taken aback by the response to ‘Innerbloom’, the biggest applause they have heard on tour so far. Or so they say.
If you want me
If you need me
If you want me
If you need me
‘Innerbloom’ embodies Rufus. In my view it carries with it what defines them, what it is that makes their music so sad yet equally transcendent. It’s the feeling of something that is usually too far in-between words to capably express. But if you had to a handle on what it is that speaks out from this song as well as the rest of their music and into the hearts of a large and sprawling following (the thousands here tonight, the thousands more which have sold out the venue for a second day tomorrow and many others) it’s devotion. The kind that’s ecstatic and lost within the moment, the type that maybe was never quite there to begin with. Even if you don’t worship at the altar of Rüfüs when Tyrone Lindqvist sings his heart out and the men standing either side of him put something of their own feeling into the music that accompanys him too, you can’t help but feel it.
Words by Riley Fitzgerald
Photo credit: Alicia Scott