Live Review: Van She, Rüfüs

17 July 2012 | 9:47 am | Bryget Chrisfield

The current trend for roaming food trucks sees a makeshift crêperie parked on Swanston Street and we make a mental note to smash some after the show. Cranking dance music soundtracks our descent down the venue's staircases in search of space. Who knew Rüfüs were bangin'? In Summer takes no prisoners and the Hi-Fi Bar mosh is all hands in the air, grins on faces. James Hunt is unreal on drums; just add Jon George's percussion and we're powerless to these arresting beats. Tyrone Lindqvist's vocals effortlessly soar and all onstage express infectious joy. We'll be stalking this Sydney trio for repeat dancefloor experiences. Party officially started.

Van She's new album Idea Of Happiness is a corker and so we eagerly await these tracks slotted in amongst established favourites. The exotic sounds of their new single Jamaica open proceedings and drummer Tomek Archer excels on xylophone, or whatever he's striking with those mallets. The foursome utilise an unconventional stage set-up: Michael (choice porn mo', bro!) Di Francesco's keyboard console is upstage centre, Archer and elegant bassist Matt Van Schie bookend their band leader Nick Routledge, who roams around and convulses downstage centre. It has to be said that Van She get the job done. Routledge seems to be having trouble hearing himself and his vocals are a bit off at times – particularly during Changes (aka the infectious “woah-oh” song) – but as we look around no one's wincing, they're too busy pulling shapes. “Did I see an inflatable condom in the crowd?” the frontman enquires with a grin as the flying franger glides by. His singing is strained during the instrumentally sublime Strangers also. Lasers are mobilised on the onstage scaffolding/lighting rig set-up for Sarah (the vocal melody of the opening line brings to mind Icehouse's Great Southern Land). Continuing with the 'ode to a lady-crush' theme, Kelly's popular tonight: synths transport us back to gelati vans, holding hands with first crushes and sneaking hand-written love notes into school bags. Sex City fast-forwards us to a more adult form of wooing.

It's Teddy the sound guy's birthday apparently, so maybe that's why he's not been attentive enough to turn Routledge's mic down during rough patches? To be fair, Routledge is a captivating lead singer in every way: flinging himself across the stage, squatting dramatically and reaching out into the crowd for some palm squeezing. But it's Archer who wins Beau Of The Ball tonight; supplying varied live percussion without missing a single beat and looking smokin' all the while. Tears sounds very Friendly Fires, but when you've got two layers tied around your waist plus beanie in hand as you dance, what could be wrong? So much more than just a group of dudes who like to celebrate that sexually suggestive hand gesture symbolising cunnilingus known as “the V sign”: Van She, we're not done with you. Now where did that mobile crêperie hoon off to?