The Red Hill Auditorium was filled was adorned with luckily fine conditions with the shimmering lights of Perth shining distinctly from the venue’s backdrop. Home to RUFUS’s (or RUFUS du sol to the Yanks) second Australian gig after Adelaide, it was a show awash with sharp electronic rhythms and generically chill lounge music. The gig itself felt oddly out of season, as RUFUS live tend to evoke a heady summer vibe; seeing the crowd wrapped in various layers was a little jarring; but hey; the show had to go on. The party atmosphere and design of the venue created a confused, yet enjoyable Frankenstein-like combination of Brazilian Carnivale and the gladiator games harkening back to ancient Rome.
Tora were the first of the acts to set the party mood. Edging into their set with nicely overlayed layers of samples and electronic motifs, they successfully set up a consistent theme which ran throughout the night; of which on the spectrum of tenacity their music sat on, it was more smooth and swarmy, rather than the pill-popping aggression felt in Drum and Bass.
Bob Moses followed on with similar tracks, creating the slow, repetitive, pulsating rhythms the genre of deep house is associated with. With the vocals of Tom Howie being oddly akin to Chris Martin of Coldplay, Bob Moses had a talent of letting the crowd drift into an unconscious trance, but then throw the punters back to earth with a gentle bass drop. Sadly the lighting made it hard to visualise the acts at times, leaving Bob Moses a lot of the time as a thinly veneered techno silhouette, leaving the punters guessing at their physical identities.
RUFUS really did ratchet up the intensity of the concert, with the experience of residing in the front row of the crowd being akin to being gratuitously placed in a human meat sandwich. Proving their popularity amongst the festival goers, the crowd muscled their way through just to get a glimpse of the act. Despite the constricted experience, with any personal space non-existent, the energy of the crowd and condensed feeling of it all really played testament to how RUFUS can set off a gig and make the crowd go wild.
Cycling through the hits starting off with “Brighter”, then making their way to “Say a Prayer for Me”, their music had a greater degree of presence when experienced live. Putting a more determined effort into extended intervals and mixed up versions of existing tracks; it enabled the group to get a bit more experimental and exercise a more liberal form of creative freedom, a feature that can’t be felt in the album Bloom. RUFUS certainly achieved what they came for, to create an oasis of summer concert vibes amongst a cold nearly-winters night in Perth. Graciously pumping out a double encore of “Take Me”, and “You were Right”, the band successfully allowed every single punter gagging for air in the front row to allow their inner groove to bloom, in an imported summertime fest fashion.