Last night, Australian alternative dance group RÜFÜS DU SOL brought the last stretch of their Solace tour to Henderson’s The Trust Arena. Supported by Cassian and presented by George FM, Leisurely, Rose Avenue and Select Music. The band was fresh off playing the University of Auckland’s Party in the Park the previous evening, supported by Auckland’s very own up-and-coming indie-pop star Bene.
The line for the venue stretched from gates all the way to the busy street. The concert was initially planned to be held at the Logan Campbell Centre, but due to sheer popular demand, it had to be moved to a larger stadium. The palpable excitement for the band’s music was electric in the air, amongst fumes of spilt drinks and rising heat levels. Cassian took to the stage... DJing to an already vibing crowd. Everyone was moving constantly, regardless of whether they were dancing, standing, or walking. There was restless energy in the building that grew as the set rounded to a close.
RÜFÜS DU SOL started early... the restlessness of the audience clearly matching the band’s impatience to begin their set. Etchings of green sparkling lights shot subtly over the lighting setup behind the band as their walls of sound began to build brick by brick. The light show leapt into full warp speed effect, as Jon George layered sub bass over ethereal synth and James Hunt brought in the backbeat on the snare.
“We've come a long way to be here with you!” shouted guitarist and vocalist Tyrone Lindqvist to a swaying audience of shouts and cheers, “This marks the end of our Australia / New Zealand tour!” Alien lights pierced through the glooming, smoky atmosphere above the crowd, looking like a cinematic snapshot of a moment seconds before a mass abduction. “I want to see everyone front to back with their hands in the air so I can see just how beautiful you are!” Lindqvist’s voice wafted over the intro to Sundream, from Atlas, the band’s first album.
By the end of the track, the light setup made it look like a rising inferno behind the band, engulfing the entire room in burning red. A man to my left made a show of protecting his tray of eight beers, but everyone obliviously danced past him. Everyone was just there to have a good time, as messy as that might be - the eight-beer-man handed me a full cup and walked off with his wares. The Trust Arena opted for the same eco-friendly Globelet cups common at environmentally conscious events such as Tāpapakanga Regional Park’s Splore Festival.
“You know what's special? Not only are we coming together to appreciate music, but we’re also here to appreciate women in this world - here to appreciate all the beautiful things women do for this world.” Lindqvist’s monologue served to acknowledge International Women’s Day, before the band launched into Treat You Better, dedicated to all the women in the audience. The visual landscape morphed into a bright pink and blue aesthetic, with pumping bass and the classic RÜFÜS dissonant guitar strums wafting over the beat during the first of their famous buildups.
“We played at the Powerstation last time! It's crazy that there's 5000 of you here right now” the band mused before Solace, the title track from the new album. Everything turned red - the lights are as big a part of the group’s live presence as any of the band members.
The stuttered opening chord to fan-favourite Innerbloom began as the lights complete cut out, a crowd full of cheers punctuated the transition to utter blackness. The lights began pulsating like a breathing organism, rising with the swarm of bass that built and built to the high synth climax of the song. The desperately delivered “If you want me, if you need me, I’m yours” marking the only time in the band’s whole set that Lindqvist’s composure fell away.
No matter where you stood, no matter where you were, no matter how much you might want to dance; someone was going to walk past, jostle you, bump into your face, push past and shove you. It was nothing personal, just oblivious bliss. The band was incredibly tight, the crowd was loose as all hell. “I proposed to my fiancée in this country,” said Lyndqvist, bringing the mania down for a peaceful second before their main set closer Another Life.
RÜFÜS DU SOL is a band to catch and to climb up immersive walls of sound, especially on standout hits Innerbloom and Underwater, as long as you can ignore a messy crowd and the worst non-festival bathroom state of 2019 so far. The band's third album Solace is available everywhere now.