Flume @ The Riverstage

Harley Streten is a 25-year-old electronic music producer from Sydney, Australia. He goes by the stage alias of Flume. You may have heard of him, particularly if you’re an Australian who doesn’t live under a rock. Since 2012, Flume has pretty well taken over the freakin’ planet with his lush synths, atmospheric instrumental passages, cut-up chipmunk vocals and beats designed for slow dancing and chilling out. Now four years into his musical dominance around the globe, Flume brings his Skin world tour to Australia. We went along to the opening of the Australian leg, at Brisbane’s Riverstage.

Flume has had a pretty good run with his musical career. After uploading debut single Sleepless online just over four years ago, he was quickly signed to the now-iconic electronic record label Future Classic. With two EP’s (one a collaboration with old mate Chet Faker) and two albums (which have collectively earned a total of 12 ARIA awards) under his belt, it’s pretty safe to say that the word “Flume” is more widely linked to Streten, rather than the word’s actual definition “an artificial channel conveying water, typically used for transporting logs or timber”. Well, at least in Australia, anyway.

Having played and headlined festivals to the likes of Coachella, Lollapalooza, Splendour in the Grass and Laneway in 2016 alone, one would assume that, with all of this experience, a live Flume show must bring a lot to the table. Let me tell you what: it did.

I arrive just as internationally acclaimed rapper Vince Staples walks out on stage, welcomed by an absolutely rowdy crowd. Staples flies through an energetic, exciting set filled with crowd-pleasers Señorita, Prima Donna, Lift Me Up and of course the “lyrically controversial” hit Norf Norf. I wasn’t sure if it was all the alcohol I’d drank beforehand or not, but the 45 minutes of Vince’s set seemed to go so quickly, leaving me wanting more. With that being said, it was definitely an A-grade performance.

Exactly half an hour after Vince wrapped up his supporting set, came the time everyone had come for. The venue lights went dark whilst the stage emulated an array of flashing bright colours to signal everybody’s attention. It’s here that Helix, the instrumental opening track to latest LP Skin is blasted through the Riverstage speakers, as the man of the hour that is Harley Streten walks out behind the decks.

It’s a killer opening to the show. At this point, his figure is merely a silhouette, a figure that can be seen in front of the colourful screen behind him. Then, all is revealed as the music makes a smooth AF transition from the silence that finishes Helix, right into the first drop of crowd-favourite and certified banger, On Top. The audience is sent into an absolute frenzy as a magnificent lighting display officially launches the show into gear. The music is blaring, the vibe is killer and we can now properly see Flume for the first time all night. It’s a good moment.

As you can imagine, what with it being a producer’s live show and all, there isn’t much pausing throughout the set. There isn’t a need for all band members to recoup, re-tune their instruments or even for vocalists to catch regain their breath. With this, the party continues non-stop. Songs transition from one into the next so fittingly well that the venue’s energy levels continue to gradually grow stronger and stronger throughout the night. From On Top, we’re teleported into another early-career crowd pleaser through Flume’s first mainstream breakout hit Holdin’ On.

Going into the Flume concert, there was a certain expectation that it will overall be good, obviously. But it wasn’t until I was actually there that I actually realised just how many songs Flume has in his catalogues, that have been iconic bangers of the last half-decade.

After Holdin’ On, my thirst to see more of Vince Staples is quenched, coming back on-stage alongside fellow vocalist Kücka to perform on Flume’s track they both feature on, for a live rendition of early 2016 hit Smoke & Retribution.

The show continues to get bigger and better, flying through a cracking set list (see in full below). Some major standout moments included;

- Bringing Vince Staples and Kücka on stage to perform Smoke & Retribution and Kucka again for Numb & Getting Colder,

- Playing new track Heater for the first time to Australian crowds (made wildly anticipated from this #KeepSydneyOpen video),

  • - Bringing out vocalist Kai to perform smash hit Never Be Like You
  • - The beautiful DIY light show the audience made via the torch on their smart phones during Take A Chance
  • - Playing & remixing RL Grime’s trap banger Core,
  • - The giant amount of confetti shot into the crowd during Free

All in all, the official beginning to Flume’s Skin tour around Australia, was pretty incredible. Definitely would recommend catching a show if you still can.

 

Flume’s Setlist

Helix

On Top

Holdin’ On

Smoke & Retribution (with Vince Staples & Kücka)

Wall Fuck

Sleepless

Heater

Insane

Tennis Court (Lorde / Flume Remix)

Numb & Getting Colder (with Kücka)

Never Be Like You (with Kai)

Take A Chance

Core (RL Grime / Flume Remix)

Hyperparadise (Hermitude / Flume Remix)

Say It

Free

Encore

You & Me (Disclosure / Flume Remix)

Tiny Cities (ft. Beck)

Zed Facts

In November 2013, Queer Radio was chosen by an independent panel of judges to win the CAN Awards 2013 Media Award. The Community Action Network Awards were first introduced in 1997 to recognize achievement that is positive and makes a difference in the inner city areas of Brisbane. Coordinated by the New Farm Neighbourhood Centre, the award citation reads "For excellence in journalism/social media which promotes the social inclusion and equality for all".