GOOD VIBES 2015 - Gods of Rock, have Mercy for I have Sinned

In a moment of weakness, I have wandered off to the path of pop music. I have forsaken my heavy metal principles, danced to pagan electro tunes and let myself be seduced by foreign sirens. Forgive me for I have fallen under the spell of 'Good Vibes.'

‘Good Vibes’ is one of the main festivals in Malaysia, really living up to its name. This year, they’re taking a little break to focus on a couple of interesting satellite shows. First on the agenda are electro dance act RÜFÜS and indie pop sensation Echosmith.

RÜFÜS (or RÜFÜS DU SOL as they’re called in the US) are a goofy electro trio from Sydney, Australia. James is the synth wizard on duty, Tyrone the soul-singing surfer, Jon the human drum machine. All are master multi-taskers – working themselves through drum pads, guitars and keyboards to turn bits and bytes into a convincing live performance.

RÜFÜS has as much depth as an Air Wick air freshener – but for 45 minutes the room is filled with joy and happiness. Poppy tunes with airy synths, dream-esque vocals and sizzling snare drums. The outstanding single ‘Sundreams’ comes very early in the set, turning the venue into a dance hall. Unlike egocentric, hand waving DJ’s, the trio is humble and down to earth - a polished machine that effortlessly wins the crowd over. LÜVE it.

The West Coast indie pop of Echosmith comes straight out of a Hollywood teen flick. Singer Sydney Sierota is Pretty in Pink, even prettier in her short green jumpsuit. Her brothers (the rest of the band) are doing another 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off’. Together they make bitter sweet, coming of age tunes, filled with teenage angst. The perfect band when you’re hitting 45 and your only angst is called midlife crisis.

It’s good to see a California teenage band to remind us every 5 minutes that we’re all beautiful! Amazing! Awesome! The best crowd ever! In the best country ever! With only one album released, the band needs to be creative to turn 45 minutes of recording into 60 minutes of concert. Two fans are extra lucky when Sydney asks them to join her on stage for a dance. Selfie time!

The band’s enthusiasm is addictive and the songs have a brilliant lightness. Shameless pop with beautiful harmonies on a bed of bass-lines, topped off with wavy guitar accents - That’s the winning Echosmith recipe. I can hear Americana, The Edge’s guitar collage and Peter Hook’s bass presence. Opener ‘Let’s love’ sets an energetic tone. Little later, ‘Bright’ launches the first sing-a-long marathon and sends hundreds of I-phones in overload. Hit single ‘Cool Kids’ is the expected closing song, before the band plays a compulsory encore. Awesome.


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