The last time I saw Sydneysider Harley Streten, AKA Flume, he was performing at the first of three sold-out shows at Club Nokia. As I recall stating then, it was easily one of the best shows of 2014, which wasn’t exactly a huge shocker given how much I adored Flume’s wildly successful self-produced, self-titled debut album, but it did cement in my mind the notion that the then-22-year-old darling of electronic music was the real deal.
Not one to sit prettily on the laurels of successes past, Streten released his critically acclaimed sophomore album, Skin, in May of this year, and his LA tour stop at the significantly larger Shrine Expo Hall proved to be such a hot commodity that he easily managed to fill it to capacity four times over. To give you a clearer picture, that’s the combined capacity of a Hollywood Bowl and a Club Nokia plus a couple hundred more. Not bad at all for a 24-year-old.
The hissing of the fog machine set to the tune of Skin’s opening track “Helix” was followed by Streten’s arrival on stage which, by the way, WOW.
His setup two years ago was visually impressive in its own right, but now that he’s playing around with double the space and what I can only imagine is a significantly fatter budget, Flume’s current staging is more reminiscent of a Tokyo shopping mall at Christmastime (it’s a huge compliment, I swear).
With an arsenal of vibrantly colored cascading lights, floating cube structures pulsing with light while floating overhead, and drop-dead gorgeous visuals courtesy of artist Jonathan Zawada all working in tandem to complement the music, the Flume live show experience has definitely leveled up big time.
Musically the show was exactly what I expected, which is to say it was excellent. Downtempo electronica goodness with the bassy bits amplified for optimal groovage, silky smooth track blending, and a solid variety of songs that highlighted the best of Flume’s two albums released thus far along with his more prominent remixes.
Debut album standouts “Sleepless” and “On Top” were dropped within the first 10 minutes of the show, but “Smoke & Retribution,” which featured show opener Vince Staples spitting verses on the mic, and “Never Be Like You” off Flume’s sophomore release buoyed the latter half of the set just fine.
And then of course there was crowd favorite “Say It,” which had everyone swaying starry-eyed and devotedly singing along to its sexually charged lyrics. If there was one moment that perfectly captured the Flume of today as both an artist and a performer, it was this one.
If the show I caught at Club Nokia two years ago was Flume’s coronation, his quadruple header at the Shrine Expo Hall was the event that signified what will almost certainly be a very long and peaceful reign. If by some miracle this guy hasn’t landed on your radar by now, put him there; the only direction he seems capable of going is up.
For more info: