Australia's Flume began a sold-out, three-night run at the Paramount with an approachable set of his downtempo, pop-forward electronic music.
Australian producer Flume began a sold-out three-night run at the Paramount Thursday night with a 90-minute set of the downtempo, soft-edged electronic music that’s made him one of EDM’s biggest acts.
He stood center stage, below a pyramid of incandescent cubes, in front of an array of lights and behind a right-angled platform laden with MIDI controllers and other electronic gear. (Unlike many EDM stars, he plays his songs live rather than deejay them.) Behind him, perspective-warping digital graphics were projected onto a ceiling-high screen.
Despite his sold-out shows, Flume (real name: Harley Streten) is a producer before he’s a performer. He worked his equipment and the crowd in equal measure, waving his arms and clapping. An electronic drum pad stood neglected until the second-to-last song, when he beat vigorously.
Pop-friendly material with guest vocals, much of it from second album “Skin,” comprised most of the show. In its first half, he cued up older songs like early single “Sleepless” and his remix of Lorde’s “Tennis Court,” both of which have amassed millions of plays on Soundcloud, YouTube and the like.
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The apex, though, was new single “Never Be Like You,” which currently sits at No. 24 on the Billboard charts. Besides being Streten’s clearest foray into mainstream pop, it’s also his most archetypical EDM track, which means it forgoes the concrete for the universal. Superficially, it appears to be a song about forgiveness—”I’ve made a mistake,” goes the chorus, to which the crowd enthusiastically sang along—but it could be about almost anything.
Equally indistinct, though probably not intentionally, was the Paramount’s usually sterling sound. The low end on tracks like “Helix,” the opener from his new album, was muddled and subdued rather than crisp and full. Perhaps this was because it was the first show of this tour, or perhaps it was a slow adjustment to playing indoors after summer festivals.
That hardly mattered to the crowd, who hung on his every bass drop. Flume’s urbane, relatively organic-sounding music is more approachable than that of many EDM contemporaries, and the early twentysomethings that packed his show advertised this quality better than his songs ever could. Stereotypical “ravers” were nonexistent; much of the audience could have come straight from their summer internships.
Streten closed the show with “Tiny Cities,” a track that somewhat incongruously incorporates trance-like synthesizers, a dubstep-style bass drop and vocals from Beck. It’s a song that shows his accessibility and wide appeal—a fitting cap to his performance.