Lines of 20-year-old electronic music enthusiasts began forming outside the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Saturday three hours before Flume was scheduled to perform.
Swarms of girls without tickets to the sold-out concert stood desperately nearby with cash in hand, looking for any way to bypass the bouncers. A couple who had forgotten their tickets begged to be let in as tears dripped down their faces. Amidst these ticketless tragedies, packs of teenagers made their way towards the gates, humming their favorite Flume verses in anticipation of the show.
Flume’s concert had a slow start as artist Cashmere Cat opened with a set of laid-back synthetic tunes, and the audience was restless for the headliner. Cashmere Cat exited the stage and left a lull in the energy of the show as audience members waited anxiously for Flume to make his appearance.
After a 20-minute wait, the first beat from the Flume song “Helix” rang loud and strong through the speakers and blinding yellow lights lit up the entire venue. The crowd exploded in an uproar.
A minute into the show, it was obvious that this was less about seeing Flume and more about enjoying a one-night EDM rage. Flume hid behind a futuristic cubicle of equipment onstage, redirecting attention from himself as an artist and guiding it towards the patterns of flashing lights and the enticing electronic beats.
While this might have been frustrating to the crazed fans who paid to see their idol up close, it was the secret ingredient to transforming the event into a hybrid between a rave and an art extravaganza.
The concert was a stream of electronic sounds with blurred lines between the end of one song and the beginning of another. However, Flume skillfully smoothed transitions between his genre-bending tracks. His beats decrescendoed, from hip-hop track “On Top” from Flume’s 2012 self-titled debut album to his more ambient song “Numb & Getting Colder” from the 2016 album Skin.
Flume accompanied his musical transitions with similar changes in the venue’s visual patterns. Colorful images of intricately detailed weapons, from bombs to ancient swords, provided the backdrop to songs like “Smoke & Retribution,” invigorating the crowd and inspiring them to tirelessly bounce to the beat. Images of dreamy mountain tops and clear blue lights created a relaxing atmosphere during the slow tempo ballad “Take A Chance.” During the lesser-known track “Wall Fuck,” from Flume’s sophomore album “Skin,” surreal visuals like a threatening rat-like monster transformed the concert into a psychedelic art show.
Flume’s cover version of Lorde’s hit track “Tennis Court” proved to be a refreshing pop break, shaking the audience from its EDM dancing frenzy and demanding that everyone sing along. Captivating images of golden crowns and glittered figures filled the onstage screens to add striking visuals to the beat of Flume’s impressive production skills.
And as Lorde’s voice faded away, Kai’s melodic voice rose to sing the familiar tune of the hit song “Never Be Like You.” Flume left his most famous track untouched and unremixed, laying back to give the crowd members a chance to hear what they came for.
The climax of the night came with the last official song on the setlist, “Say It.” Flume added synthetic beats and twists that made the live version even more captivating than his studio recording. For the four minutes of the song, the audience members coupled up to enjoy the romantic track.
After “Say It,” the show’s energy dipped and the crowd began to disperse. Some die-hard fans remained to try to keep the magic alive for a little longer, demanding more songs. Flume went on to perform another three songs, including his 2013 hit “Drop The Game,” and had people singing at the top of their lungs until the moment they hit the exit.