On the first of two sold-out nights at The Fillmore, RÜFÜS DU SOL put on an intense show that had the audience singing and dancing all night long. They had spectacular assistance from two Australian duos, Kllo and Yuma X. Together, the three of them made a strong case for Australia as the hottest source of today’s new music.
The night opened up with a surprisingly punchy and energetic performance by Yuma X. Singer Lucy Washington’s lyrics and vocal delivery were reminiscent of Romy Madley Croft’s from The xx. Lost love, heartache and broken promises were a theme in her lyrics. Jake Smith provided instrumentation on what seemed like a half dozen various instruments, including keyboards, synth and guitar.
Although there were only a few dozen concertgoers in attendance (their set was at 8 p.m.), Yuma X did not fail to win over everyone’s hearts by the end of their allotted time. The duo has one song, “Matchstick”, released on Spotify, while the rest of its tracks can be found on Soundcloud. According to Washington, fans should look out for more titles to be officially released soon.
The audience was much larger by the time the second duo, Kllo, took the stage but seemed rather unfamiliar with the group. This was surprising given Kllo’s previous success — their debut EP Cusp was widely promoted on The Hype Machine and Spotify, and the group has toured extensively in Australia and the UK. Regardless, The Fillmore approached their set with an open mind, getting down to previously unheard tunes.
Compared to Yuma X, Kllo was much more drum and synth forward. The cousins hailing from Melbourne, Chloe Kaul and Simon Lam, featured faster, tighter drum loops and more creative synth lines, combined with some subdued and restrained vocals from Kaul.
The biggest audience reactions came during Kaul’s sensual crooning on “Make Me Wonder” and an apparently unreleased track titled “Sex”. The swirly mood lighting and smoke effects combined perfectly with Kaul’s breathy and wavy delivery style. Upbeat songs like “Walls to Build” off their recent 2016 release Well Worn successfully built the energy and anticipation as a juxtaposition to Yuma X’s vocal-forward style and a logical musical transition into the final set of the evening.
By the time RÜFÜS made their entrance, the excitement in the room was at a fever pitch. The crowd was ready to dance from the very first beat (thanks to the excellent warm-up from Kllo and Yuma X), and they did just that. Lead singer Tyrone Lindqvist took center stage with great energy and proceeded to do the customary water bottle toss shortly after.
Lindqvist set the tone right from the get-go for a high-energy, high-audience-participation set. The crowd responded in kind by getting down much harder than expected for a Wednesday night. Notably, there were surprisingly very few phones out as most attendees put away their cameras to make the most of every song. The intimate setting of The Fillmore could almost have been mistaken for the polo grounds of Coachella, given how many girls-on-shoulders could be seen around the venue.
Lindqvist made a point to highlight tracks off the band’s early 2016 release Bloom. Bandmates Jon George (keyboards, synthesizer) and James Hunt (drums) obliged willingly, adding their own creative flairs to longer, extended cuts of their classic tracks. Even Lindqvist’s guitar riffs felt like they had more creative leeway and freedom when compared to the respective studio cuts of the band’s songs.
Tyrone showed off the smoky end of his vocal range when he exchanged his normally mellow voice in favor of his 80’s voice on the track “Tonight”. As Lindqvist sang, “We’re coming alive / The dead are arising / The night is coming to life”, The Fillmore did just that, demonstrating a second burst of dancing energy in the middle of the show.
The highlight of the night came when RÜFÜS asked the crowd to “come on a journey” with them, “past the Milky Way, but not to Uranus.” Fans simultaneously got down on the dance floor and blasted off into space, so to speak. The show came to an end with the retro-groovy “Like an Animal”, but RÜFÜS DU SOL graced fans with a generous, two-song encore that included dance classics “Take Me” and “You Were Right”. The evening was capped off by a salute from all the performers, reminding SF where some of the best music today originates.