“When we were planning our tour, we were planning on doing one Club Nokia. Now we’re doing three Club Nokias,” 22-year-old Harley Edward Streten — better known as Flume — said with a boyish smile while addressing one the most adoring crowds I’ve ever seen in the numerous times I’ve found myself at Club Nokia.
Streten’s rise can be best described as meteoric. Sure, he’s been on the up and up since the release of his critically acclaimed self-titled debut in 2012, but his stock rose exponentially in the US of A following much-lauded appearances at this year’s two-weekend Coachella bonanza. Clearly Angelenos took the editorial praise to heart given that he effortlessly managed to sell out Club Nokia three times over. The million dollar question is whether or not he managed to live up to the hype.
The TL;DR answer? Oh hell yes.
Flume was undoubtedly on point on Friday. Although his album material veers more into downtempo territory, he was able to create a set that was equal parts danceably rhythmic and tonally stimulating by way of smooth transitions and deft pacing. The wobble-laden bass grooves of Flume’s build-up rife “Insane” and his collaboration with Chet Faker, “Drop The Game,” don’t necessarily jump out as being club-friendly bangers, but in Streten’s capable hands they can satisfy those who want nothing more than to dance as well as those who want to stand still with mouth agape while taking in all of the auditory artistry happening around them.
If I were to select a single track from the night that expressed this seeming dichotomy best, it would undoubtedly be the achingly beautiful “Sleepless,” which earned the title of my favorite track of the evening by a longshot (no small praise). With its melancholy, pulsing beats and artfully distorted vocals, “Sleepless” caused one of those moments of perfection I so hope to witness at every live show I go to. Stunningly crafted visuals and simple-yet-effective lighting served as the pretty satin bow on an already-impressive package.
I’ve used this before in reference to St. Lucia’s show back in February, but I’m going to go ahead and play the “Best of 2014″ card yet again since Flume undoubtedly deserves to join those ranks. The diversity of tracks chosen, transitions, visual accompaniments, and crowd energy were seamlessly interwoven to create one of those rare nights of musical perfection. Flume may only be 22, but he’s far beyond showing “significant promise” — he’s the real deal. If you missed him this time around, make seeing him next time a priority.
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