Australian electronic music trio Rüfüs du Sol are not the same band they were when they stood on the Bowl’s stage a little more than three years ago.
Following a shift in lifestyles, their maturation as musicians and men, a journey to sobriety, and a rapid gain of widespread notoriety, the trio — Jon George, Tyrone Lindqvist, and James Hunt — found themselves in the Santa Barbara venue once again, performing from three freestanding platforms as they did in 2019.
However, despite the stage’s familiarity, their show on October 8 highlighted their changed standing as musicians.
In the midst of playing “See You Again” from their newest album, Lindqvist, the band’s frontman, took the time to say how it was “hard to believe” they had played at the Bowl those few years ago, considering how much they have grown since then. The sentiments in the song, backdropped by synced, colorful lights illuminating the trio, matched the feelings expressed by the three members throughout their set. “I wanna see you again,” Lindqvist sang, “But a lot just changed, I know better than yesterday, I will find my way, closer to you.”
In 2019, the trio had already built an impressive discography with a couple platinum records that took Australia by storm, winning some Australian Recording Industry Association Awards in the process. With the release of their 2021 LP Surrender, the group put their creative, lyrical spin on house music once again, but with a new edge, earning the artists more ground in the American music industry and their first Grammy.
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Rüfüs du Sol aptly performed many of the songs from their recent album, which is characterized by a vulnerability not seen in their previous work. These songs explore slightly darker themes, but the Bowl was always ablaze with light, reflecting the energy and tinges of hopefulness within each track.
“Alive,” which ended the band’s three year hiatus when it was released in 2021 and won them their first Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording in 2022, was the climax of their set. The emotion in the heavy lyrics and slow-building, dream-like instrumentals reverberated through the crowd like a wave. “On My Knees,” another track off their new album, contains a similarly poignant message, but as it’s set against a fast-paced, techno beat with steady bass, it had the audience dancing and head-banging, even while Lindqvist fell to his knees on stage.
The group did not neglect to play the songs that won them much of their fanbase. Giant plumes of snow-white confetti and a laser-light show made the stirring beats of their earlier songs that much more exciting, and got people out of their seats. Their setlist wove in top tracks from their 2015 album Bloom, and ended with an explosive encore of essential songs “Treat You Better” and “No Place” from their 2018 album Solace.
“It’s surreal to be playing in front of so many people,” Lindqvist said toward the end of their show. “We didn’t see ourselves playing on the other side of the world, so it means a lot that we get to do this, that we get to share this with you.”