It’s hard to fault Tyrone Lindqvist for a bit of vocal fatigue, but the second of Australian trio Rüfüs du Sol‘s two nights at the Fillmore was marked with a bit of hoarseness.
Catalyzed by the heavy touring on the festival circuit and beyond, Rüfüs du Sol — aka Rüfüs — is emerging as a major force in alternative dance. “Innerbloom,” the beautiful, nine-minute sine curve of a song that embodies the band’s lens-flare-on-pic-of-a-sunny-afternoon vibe, has now gotten the high-profile remix treatment half a dozen times. And you can tell from the effusive thanks the members give out on stage that they’re beginning to internalize the idea that they could be huge in the medium-term.
Considering that the basis for electronic dance music’s appeal is its ability to connect with the crowd — and Rüfüs demonstrates a greater-than-average skill at doing so — I asked keyboardist Jon George if he’d noticed the crowds changing over the course of the tour, as the band’s stature has grown.
“We’ve had some special moments on stage, a lot of them during American festival runs that we did this year,” he said. “It just came out of nowhere. The adjustment from people, once we had a full tent, to simmer down in the right spot and really get into the music and blow up in the more exciting spots — they were just there with us.”
“So I think we stepped off stage a lot of times and we’d just go, ‘Wow, that was really special for us,’ ” George added. “Not because it was a big crowd, but because they were invested in the show, to go on that little ride with us.”
Occasionally tired-sounding frontman notwithstanding, the show sounded as if they dragged summer from the Southern Hemisphere to a dark December night in an America that’s more than a little benighted these days already. Freed from the time restrictions of a festival, Rüfüs structured the set the right way, minimizing any appearance of padding things out, opening with “Be With You” and “Brighter” before proceeding to a slow(er) jam in the form of the early-’90s homage “Desert Night.” The keyboards were considerably bigger and more prominent than on the album, Robyn-esque in their crypto-arpeggiation.
With a “we’re going to try something we’ve never tired before in San Francisco” tease, Lindqvist brought out Chloe Kaul, one half of Kllo, the Australian duo that’s also on the tour for a duet that sounded like an upbeat version of The xx. And “Innerbloom,” the first part of the encore — the latter half being “Like an Animal” — sounded almost exactly like the original version, a crowd-pleasing move. It’s been remixed a bunch of times since Rüfüs’ sets at Coachella — most notably by Lane 8 and Sasha, versions which George said he loves most — but the almost-10-minute original is beautiful on its own. Why mess around?
“Only connect” is the mantra for so many things, but Rüfüs demonstrated their uncanny knack for it throughout the entire set. This trio is only going to get bigger.