Van She, RuFuS, Pidgeon @ Hi-Fi, Brisbane (12/07/12)

Perhaps I’ve been living in isolation for far too long, but I seem to have missed Van She’s transformation from cute indie-dance rockers to a highly electronic dance outfit. But I caught up with the change at Brisbane’s Hi-Fi, where Van She performed as part of their Idea Of Happiness promotional tour, supported by RuFuS and Pigeon.

In hindsight Pigeon may have been the best band of the night. They were certainly the least boring and apathetic. The Hi-Fi was roughly half full when the five young men started their set. Being a Brisbane band they have a sound that has largely pervaded Brisbane music in recent times. It’s the indie-dance sound, underpinned by a synth and coupled with big drumming. Yet two-thirds through the set the mood changed and Pigeon started to replicate the type of music that gets played at the bottom level of local nightclub The Family. It sounded strange in contrast to what they originally opened with, especially when they discarded their electronic sound and returned back to the indie-dance tunes.

Second on the bill were RüFüS who are a dance/electronic three-piece. I feel I should start by saying that they massacred one of the most heartfelt songs written by an Australian artist in the last few years; Gotye’s Hearts A Mess. Perhaps they were just practicing their Like A Version, but it came off as a grotesque transformation of a stark and tranquil song. This failure seems to exemplify the abrasiveness of their dance music. RüFüS attempt to fuse too many dance sounds together without taking time for the subtleties of their genre. In saying this, they give a semblance of a performance through their instrument change-ups and drum solos, but overall they came off as sporadic and dull. Yet the band did perform to a full crowd as everyone awaited Van She.

There were high hopes for Van She. I still remember when Oh Kelly was iTunes free download of the week, and my fifteen year old self ran around singing it endlessly. Yet their performance wasn’t the fireworks I was anticipating. Some might have found their 45 minute set too short, but others would have found it merciful. Van She opened with one of their new songs, Jamaica – this song is what first prompted me to fully realise Van She have moved to a more dance/electronic outfit. In an effort to fully promote their new album, the band played mainly new songs and reprieved only a couple of golden oldies such as Oh Kelly, Strangers and Changes. Van She also attempted an encore, but they left the stage for perhaps 30 seconds and returned with an air of ‘getting it over with.’ Singer Nicholas Routledge attempted to be energetic and was turning all over the place, while the synth-player looked ever-so-cool with his Ron Burgundy moustache. But there was no zest or delight in the performance and there seemed to be the cold remains of a once warm band.