Do you have a heart and a glowstick? Put some ACL Fest respect on Rüfüs du Sol's name
“Sink in and dance with us,” Rüfüs du Sol singer Tyrone Lindqvist asked of Honda Stage patrons.
Saturday night at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, the headliner from Sydney apparently pulled the short straw and was stuck playing opposite superstar Billie Eilish. The three-piece electronic pop band did its darndest and connected with strangers via its wistful romanticism. Less so the droning red lights, and later, blue lights.
I’ll keep it 100: Upon the lineup reveal, Rüfüs du Sol was the first ACL Fest headliner to date whom I hadn’t heard of. There’s a Venn diagram people use to stereotype listeners and artists, unfairly, and I’d penciled in Rufus — Lindqvist, drummer James Hunt, keys guy Jon George — as fluffy electro pop for guys who own a Peloton. Or travel vloggers who idealize pics in the desert.
But singing like Coldplay’s Chris Martin at his most bewildered and curious, Rüfüs du Sol proved more than the sum of its glowsticks. And sweet.
Check the earnest chorus of “Next to Me”: “When the lights come down, I wanna feel you standing next to me.” Now imagine that lyric repeated many times while hugged by vibrant synthesizers. Now imagine how appealing that could sound on uppers. And yet: This wasn’t some cheap cosmetic high — it was deeply human.
Amid onstage banter, Lindqvist beamed about being at Zilker Park with his wife and child and said he’d “struggled to get through” performing “Next to Me” at his wedding this year. (That he revealed himself as a man who apparently insists on at the very least playing his own music at his wedding is beside the point.)
All the best Rüfüs du Sol songs are built similarly. One good thought, a pensive lyric, for six minutes. “I see myself in your eyes” on “I See Myself In Your Eyes”; “You were right” on “You Were Right”; “looks like I’m on my knees again,” on “On My Knees”; “If you want me, if you need me, I’m yours” on “Innerbloom.”
“Today’s a beautiful day,” Lindvqist said. “We’re about two weeks out from releasing our new record.”
He expressed relief at being back onstage after a year and a half away and said something about how we were the lucky ones, because we got to come back tomorrow. The drummer kept his cool jacket on during the entire hour-plus set. Many people with glitter and wide-brimmed fedora hats swayed.
If you’ve got two ears and a heart, these three bros on risers have something to offer.