Something strange descended upon the HiFi Bar in Melbourne on a brisk and spooky Friday the 13th.

Normally fickle Melbourne fans put one foot in front of the other early and by the time supports Rufus were up on stage there was already a fight for space along the security barriers.

Being an opening band is never an easy task, regardless of where you play. Opening for a band like Van She, with an already affirmed fan-base seemed to do nothing to phase Rufus, as they plastered the room with gated-synth pop/rock bolstered by phenomenal disco-beat rhythm sections and an instant rapport with the crowd.

Hands were in the air from the first song as they managed to achieve the perfect archetype for an opening band, assuring that punters were buzzing in anticipation for the headliners.

It’s been a little while between drinks for the four Sydneysiders, releasing their first studio album in four years since the unveiling of their successful debut LP V in 2008.

Opening their set with an assailment of crash cymbals, feedback-fused guitars and grinding synth textures, the band dove headlong through the fuzz and into ‘Jamaica’, immediately drawing ecstatic reception from assembled fans, affirming the already growing success of the quartet’s new album, Idea of Happiness.

“This one’s from a long time ago, it’s called ‘Changes’” announced Matt to overwhelming approval, as the crowd amassed directly in front of the stage and began to resemble more of a dance-floor with not a still frame to be found; to the obvious delight of the band.

‘Kelly’ further confirmed that some long-term Van She listeners were in attendance, receiving a rapturous approval from the assembled audience and ensuring the energy on the dance-floor remained at fever pitch throughout the set.

Maintaining a cohesive mix of old and new, crowd reception for continued Idea of Happiness material saw more than a handful of punters already have the lyrics to tunes such as ‘Sarah’ down verbatim.

As the band exited the stage everyone in the room was already thinking the same thing; ‘they’ll be back’. The lack of stellar single ‘Idea of Happiness’ from the aforementioned record ensured that nobody was ready to leave the building until the group had graced us with their new anthem; and so they did.

Gated-reverb guitar chimes announced the return to the stage and the commencement of the much anticipated track, as fans cheered on an improvised jammed-out intro, as a result of some unfortunate technical faults on the drum set, which only served to ignite a greater audience response.

Finishing as abruptly as they began, the group humbly thanked the audience and lumbered off stage, as testaments of ‘damn that was a good set’ were thrown around the room as patrons shuffled out, a summation that seemed to echo through the entire audience and in truth, was entirely deserved.

Van She managed to affirm to a packed out venue that not only have they managed to return to form with their most recent album, but that their live shows are as engaging and energetic as always.

– Morgan Benson