After Flume’s sold-out set at Royale on Tuesday, I stood outside of the cavernous venue with friends who claimed that they just had a religious experience. With our hair dripping and our skin slicked with sweat, we looked the part of newly-baptized children emerging from the water. It was difficult to argue.
Before getting on to the good stuff though, let me get the negative details from the evening out of the way. For one thing, the booming audience skewed fairly young, and yes, I mean that in a bad way. If I had a dollar for every brace-faced teen I saw whining or appearing confused/overwhelmed… you know the rest. Another issue that I had was that the dance floor was swamped with many people that seemed unwilling to actually dance. I’m thinking of one big lug in particular who merely bobbed slightly as if he was in a trance. After a song or two, my friends and I made our way out and towards the space behind the dance floor that actually allowed true movement.
All complaints from the set, however, are minor and had nothing to do with Flume himself, who put on the most purely enjoyable show that I’ve had the chance to experience in quite some time. He provided a mix of hits (“Sleepless,” “Insane”) and remixes (Lorde’s “Tennis Court,” Jay-Z’s “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”), then he pulled the curtain back on some of his new material, which provided glimpses of an exciting future for the artist.
While his music (which appears equally inspired by J Dilla and R&B and sometimes resembles the work of SBTRKT) provides quite the soundtrack for a dance party, it also became a celebration of the senses and all things physical in the live setting. Images of a woman’s lips, a couple locked in a kiss, and cascading jewels burst with life on the screen as Flume worked in silhouette. His presence, however, was anything but anonymous, with the crowd seemingly under the influence of every move he made.
But what sticks in my brain, above all else, are the flashes of people’s faces with grins stretching across the entirety of their glistening faces as they danced to the music.