Photo credit: Oliver Walker © Goldenvoice 2014
The youngster from down under, Flume (aka Harley Streten), took over the city of Los Angeles for three nights this past weekend. Due to the popularity and talent of this innovative producer – the first two shows immediately sold out. Jumping at the last chance to attend his concert I purchased a seat from the third wave of tickets reserved for Monday. Definitely made the right choice by starting the week off with the musical prowess that is: Flume.
The lights began to dim as the speakers intensified the high frequency soundwaves – a spotlight shined down on the leather wrapped SOPHIE. The beat got louder and suddenly boom, clap then a pause – boom, clap. A black turtleneck? This guy is oozing cool but did anyone see that killer fade? Blonde curly locks lead the procession of dancing lights and the hesitant crowd before him.
SOPHIE’s a performer, conducting a live mix and testing the limits of your auditory senses at the same damn time. Punching through sound waves with an array of break beats, heartbeats, and everything in between. “Everybody get higher!”, the crowd yelled along to the prominent lyrics. I bit down on my nails in awe of the live show that shook Nokia into an immense dance party.
The sound system and the crowd clapping to the beat cued the lights’ strobing effects, holy fuck if I were on some sort of drug right now I’d be tripping balls!
Dude, the crowd had the beat down to a tee when it came to their claps. People all around me began to converge into one unified dance group. SOPHIE rocked the night and could be heard all the way from his stomping grounds across the English channel.
Sitting atop the balcony I got a closer examination of his finger tapping magic via live close ups of his soundboard. The TV monitors showcasing visual spectacles shook with vigor as the bass pinned me against the back wall. The vibrations burst through the hemisphere and the room delved into a bass coma. It was difficult grasping air in that intense moment brought on by speaker rape. “Lemonade”, the highly danceable and well received track summoned all in attendance to rise from their seats.
As SOPHIE quickly exited to stage right, the lights dimmed once more and the spotlight placed the headlining act in his rightful place as lead orchestrator of this evening’s concert. The crowd went crazy for that youngin’ in purple. Starting with “the one that started it all” Flume opened up with “Insane (ft. Moon Holiday)”. The molasses infused beat made me wonder how a twenty-something Australian got to this point? Just a year ago he was playing a show at the Echoplex and tickets were selling for $10. He asked how the crowd was doing and a chorus of roars answered his inquiry.
“Holdin On” featured a visual journey of a race car lit up by neon lights gliding through a fictional city – Flume’s own version of Grand Theft Auto.
The stage featured an extra long dj booth complete with a three dimensional hexagon that showcased random patterns of color and light. It was like a football shaped volleyball, pretty dope. The overall visual experience of the night executed its sole duty to entertain and distort one’s vision.
Why do people avert their eyes from the spectacle before them to a pocket sized glass screen? I saw some folks checking their texts and even their Instagrams, what a shame. In their attempt to capture the moment they forgot to live in the moment. But who am I to pass judgement while I scribble away in a mini composition notebook?
Did I just hear that this show is his last stop in his U.S. tour? Flume thanked the crowd and nostalgically reflected on the days spent in his bedroom making music at his parent’s house.
Cell phones were held tightly in our hands to record the few words that were exchanged between the artist and his audience, we are Flume’s army! Such a humble, exuberant man – his words and synth based beats echoed through my membrane. He goes to town on his drum kit and one can only imagine if he used to perform the same way in his bedroom to an imaginary crowd.
“On Top (ft. Tshirt)” broke through any sound barriers still present in the auditorium. “Tennis Court” by Lorde is re-worked by the Aussie and the lyrics still resonate in my mind – “It’s a new art form showing people how little we care/We’re so happy, even when we’re smilin’ out of fear”.
Flume fed off of the crowd’s energy and compared our party mentality to the lack of enthusiasm reflected in the audience the past weekend, “Usually they are too stoned.” Flume called us “rad”. No sir, you are rad! “I guess it’s just a Monday thing,” he continues. My friend pointed out the audience’s excitement is probably because it was “Molly Monday.”
“Set it Off” prepped us with a deep trip into a kaleidoscopic hexagonal journey setting the roof off of this place. Drunk girls in high waisted shorts bobbed up and down to the mellow symphony. All in attendance two-stepped and swung their hips to every singular beat that escaped the speaker system as the night began to slowly fade away.
Every youth in attendance at this all ages event remained standing throughout his set in appreciation of the producer’s wild mixing skills.
The remix of Disclosure’s “You & Me” beckoned with a love montage of two naked lovers (only saw their head and shoulders but it was totally obvious they were naked). Hundreds of red balloons collapsed from the ceiling just as the beat dropped in the song.
Flume told us that the night was “special” and that we were “the craziest this weekend”. He stood back in awe and utter excitement over the raging crowd before him. His movements and soft spoken speech made it easy to believe every word that he said, the vibes emitting from that night can be felt for many weeks to come. We all cheered for an encore because his endless music catalog is dense with greatness. The humility took over the performer’s conscious and he emerged from the darkness of the side lines to take his position center stage.
“Do you want more music?” he asked us and we yelled back as a sign of appreciation. Colorful mandalas danced behind the 90s baby. The night ended with a flawless execution of the final songs on his set list. Sliding back into reality will be difficult after a night that we allowed ourselves to go “Insane.”