RUFUS Solace packshotPerformance: February 14, 2019, Melbourne, VIC

Love was in the air on Thursday night as Australia welcomed back the newly re-named RÜFÜS DU SOL for their first headline shows in over two years. The Sidney Myer Music Bowl was the perfect spot to kick off the first of two very sold-out shows.

Both support slots were provided courtesy of RÜFÜS’ newly formed record label, Rose Avenue Records. Beginning the evening were brother/sister duo Lastlings – the [cue Zoolander voice] really really good-looking band impressed with their electro-pop offering to the growing crowd. Amy Dowdle skipped across stage like a young Lauren Mayberry, while Josh commanded attention switching between guitar and beat pads. I’m excited for what is to come for this band (world domination, I assume).

After a very quick break, Sydney producer Cassian struck a lone figure on the very large Music Bowl stage but pulled the crowd in to what felt like an intimate club setting– the self-taught finger-wizard had the crowd on their feet dancing to cuts from his 2018 debut Lafayette.

After two near-perfect support sets, the sun had fallen, and the electric crowd were well and truly ready for their heroes to emerge. You never quite know what you’re going to get when you’re up on the hill at the Music Bowl, but I had a reasonable expectation that this crowd was going to get rowdy – and that’s exactly what they did. As with RÜFÜS’ entire back catalogue, their songs kind of melt into each other; a RÜFÜS DU SOL set is a journey, and a sea of people were ready to take it.

As Jon George, Tyrone Lindqvist and James Hunt entered the stage, it finally hit me: RÜFÜS DU SOL are an arena band now – a long way from a sweaty Corner Hotel set I attended in 2013. With three silo stages for each of the guys and strobe lights that could be seen from space, the stage was a massive set-up – fitting for what was about to go down.

Celebrating their third studio album Solace, there was an obvious focus on the new tracks. Highlighting the set was perfect opener Eyes; Underwater’s deep bass reverberated through the grounds, as on the otherworldly Treat You Better. But there was plenty of room for the old favourites in the over-90-minute set too: Like An Animal excited early, You Were Right incited mass sing-a-longs, and in the best way possible, Innerbloom felt like it went forever. Time seemingly stood still as Valentines locked their arms around each other and melted into the song – at one point there were as many fans with their backs to the stage as there were facing it, as they embraced friends and strangers alike.

An inevitable and well-earned three-track encore followed, with a cover of The Chemical Brothers’ Saturate sandwiched in between. As the show ended, confetti fell, gates opened, and punters spilled into Melbourne’s picturesque botanical gardens, and it was abundantly clear that many of their nights were only just beginning.

Solace is out now via Sony.

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi