Very few superlatives will do Harley Streten aka Australian producer Flume‘s recent Roundhouse performance justice. Underpinned by flawless visuals and an exceptional venue that culminated in one of the best atmospheres I have ever experienced, Flume’s die-hard fans cannot have been disappointed with his first UK non-festival appearance in almost two years.
Support act Kenton Slash Demon were very much an unknown quantity and offered an accomplished but generally under-appreciated set, one that was almost completely uninterrupted. For the majority, the prime purpose of their set was to gain ground ahead of Flume, the only noticeable exception being the intensely-repetitive ‘Harpe’. The Norwegian duo were clearly skilled in the mixing department but offered very little in terms of energising the crowd, and their modest set certainly lacked visually. What followed however, was truly spectacular.
In front of a sell-out venue of several thousand, spanning two tiers, Flume delivered a set that was noticeably similar in structure to his usual live line-up over the past few years, with a handful of encouraging tracks from his upcoming album, Skin, and remixes from his former What So Not side project.
Flume opened with ‘Sleepless’ amidst an incredible reception from the crowd, and by this point it was evident that many impassioned fans had travelled from far-afield, further affirming Flume’s massive hype and his position as one of the most widely-appreciated electronic artists in the world. My favourite Flume track, ‘On Top’, and its infamous drop followed shortly after, yet its position so early in the set was a minor disappointment, but was nonetheless unforgettable and all the more chaos-inducing, particularly in the front few rows where I was located.
The introduction of vocalists Kai and Kučka, and their assured contributions to new tracks ‘Never Be Like You‘ and ‘Smoke and Retribution’ from the upcoming album, was a welcome contrast to the fast-paced and largely electronic opening. During these tracks, the Roundhouse stage offered the beautiful pink and purple aesthetic associated with Skin and combined it with impeccably choreographed lighting throughout. Flume’s most iconic release and undoubtedly his best remix, that of Disclosure and Eliza Doolittle’s ‘You and Me’, marked a customary end to the standard set. With the track’s vibrant and thought-provoking music video in the background, this was unsurprisingly the most emotional song of the night by far.
After the crowd protested for an inevitable encore, an unorthodox two-track offering followed. This was headed by the always popular ‘Holdin On’ and the set drew to close with the What So Not remix of Major Lazer’s ‘Get Free’. By now, Harley had abandoned his decks in engaging the impassioned audience, and the insane drop that followed evoked pure crowd anarchy.
In arguably one of London’s best medium-sized venues, Flume more than succeeded in confirming himself as one of the world’s hottest electronic artists and one that all music fans can appreciate. From the neon lights of Flume’s stage set-up to the harsh strobes that accompanied every drop, all aspects of the performance were visually stimulating. Each song from the artist’s now significant back catalogue was met with a bouncing audience response and although the intermittent mosh pits were somewhat out of place, this did not detract from what was a truly unforgettable experience.