written by Nate Manuel
In a world of play-button DJs and hyper-rehearsed pop acts, it’s refreshing to see a fully live Dance/EDM/House act. Sometimes in festival land the mid-day jam bands and the late-night trap/vibe tent seem like different worlds, and they certainly attract different audiences. It can be difficult for artists to bridge that gap, and even more difficult to do it well. Stitching all of this together masterfully, riding on a wave of love and sunshine, is Rüfüs Du Sol.
The themes are all well known: Simple drum kits and rhythms, soothing lead vocals, subtly catchy melodies- and Rüfüs (as they are known outside the U.S.) nails every part. The Australian trio have an effortless on stage chemistry. Drummer James Hunt kept the show thumping and hips shaking, but wasn’t afraid to leave his drum set and move around the stage playing smaller percussion instruments and melodic synthesizers. Vocalist Tyrone Lindqvist sounds just as good in person as he does on a record, and filled out the band’s sound with both lead guitar solos and various backing instruments. Keyboardist Jon George, playing with both drumsticks and hands, hit the lead melodies just as they were on record- it’s just as important to know when not to improvise. Jon also did a great job of filling in with banter and crowd interaction, giving vocalist Tyrone a break between songs.
Playing much of their released cataloge, the group seemed to touch everyone in the crowd’s favorite songs. The set had a more traditional feel with pauses and breaks between songs, breakdowns and call/response segments between the musicians, and instrument/stage position changes. The group was clearly responding well to the enthusiastic Detroit audience, repeatedly exclaiming they “don’t normally play this song” or even “haven’t played this song live before”, as well as playing two full songs as an encore.
One moment stuck out to me, when Rüfüs Du Sol member Jon George said to the crowd: “We are often asked what Rüfüs Du Sol means. To us it’s an island somewhere in the mediterranean, with its own plants and fauna, and people, and the sun always shines, and you go there when you listen, even without us here.” This is powerfully accurate imagery, and captures a glimpse into the minds of this talented Australian group. Their eternally positive mission is backed by talent, charisma, and effort, creating a show you can’t help but enjoy.