RUFUS at the Hi-Fi
RUFUS concluded their Australia-wide tour at the Hi-Fi this Friday just gone. The ambient kind-of dance feel their recordings produce gives the impression that a live performance would be chilled at best. You picture an audience swaying to the relaxed beats, stoners looking at the lights, all that kind of stuff. The reality of RUFUS live is a different story entirely. Between Tyrone Lindqvist’s soft vocals, Jon George’s melodic percussion pad and synth vibes, and James Hunt’s minimalist yet tasteful drumming, RUFUS perform with a certain sort of energy that I found hard to pin down, and from the first tune they managed to imbue their loving crowd with this vitality on Friday.
The gig started off pretty much as expected, with tracks including the ever-popular Paris Collides, Sundream, and Tonight getting the audience in the mood. What struck me though was that the intensity of the dancing, drinking, and general enjoyment factor. At various times the relatively small capacity of a venue such as the Hi-Fi betrayed the performative qualities of the band, who you could easily picture psyching up a much larger venue. RUFUS tend to perform in a way that builds a sense of excitement in the room throughout the duration of a song. Two Clocks in particular starts off in a half-time groove, and builds surprisingly with the addition of denser percussive and synth textures throughout until its conclusion at which time multiple double and triple person stacks had formed around the main floor of the Hi-Fi.
You would think that with almost every song played following this formula of starting slow and then slowly but surely psyching up, that the annoyance of being repetitive would sneak in. RUFUS somehow managed to negate this seeming inevitability. It’s definitely an effective formula, and the incredible tasteful melodic patterns that sit just beneath the vocals are just so bloody addictive!
During their penultimate song, Take Me, you could’ve been forgiven for thinking you were at some sort of underground festival in Europe or America. Everyone just wanted to be there, and at this point their light show was not only complimenting the music, but was a vital part of it. They followed this up with a predictable encore track, Desert Nights, but any lack of anticipation was immediately forgiven when every single person in the audience was belting out every word, as lead singer Tyrone stepped away from the mic and the atmosphere exploded again.
Put simply an incredibly polished performance for a band that’s still so young. As these guys mature and develop their sound they will be unstoppable, and they are already on the way to being one of Sydney’s most accomplished acts.
- Zanda Wilson