So Much Potential, Wasted
The announcement of Flume's gig at the Roundhouse on 19th March was much welcome news. With the gig selling out within 3 minutes of the general release tickets going on sale, I was more than a little excited to score tickets to what I was sure would be an amazing night. Perhaps if I'd gone in with slightly lower expectations, I would not have been so disappointed...
Upon entering the venue, the unknown support act Kenton Slash Demon played to a crowd that seemed largely uninterested. This is the first live gig I've ever been to where I've seen people literally sitting around in circles on the ground, backs turned to the music, busy entertaining themselves.
This lack of interest only went to further emphasise the anticipation felt in the crowd when Flume himself was due to take the stage. The venue filled up quickly, and we found ourselves caught in a tight circle of people who weren't going to let anyone push past them come hell or high water - the sign of die hard fans everywhere.
Harley Streten AKA Flume took to the stage, the crowd pushed forward and we were off. The opening notes of "Sleepless" filled the venue and threw the audience into a frenzy, pulsing and swaying along. This followed quickly into "On Top" - a choice that struck me as a little strange with it being one of his most recognisable - and crowd pleasing - tracks. "Insane" followed closely after (my favourite), and I was filled with anticipation. The tour was to promote the upcoming album, 'Skin', and if this was the prelude to that, I felt there must be something special in store. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
With little or no mixing between tracks, I couldn’t help feeling like I might as well have pressed "play" on my Spotify playlist and had a dance in the comfort of my own home, without dealing with being pushed and shoved around like I was at a heavy metal concert.
With the first half of the set being largely fast-paced, the second half of his set - showcasing the new tunes - opened with the latest track "Never be like you". Like a breath of fresh air in the now stuffy arena, the beginning of the song prompted the crowd to both slow down, as well as hype them up for what we all came here for. The problem is, the small selection of new tracks were somewhat lacklustre - straying a little too far from the liquid house Streten is known for, and a little too far into Pop territory for my liking. Disappointed, we pushed our way to the back of the crowd, happy to give up our prime spot in exchange for a drink.
The energy picked up again with Flume’s well known remix of Disclosure's "You & Me" drawing the set to a close. The encore featured another couple of his best known tracks - including the What So Not remix of Major Lazer’s "Get Free", treating the audience to a final opportunity to let loose and enjoy the music we all knew so well, and the night came to an end.
Perhaps I’m being harsh - the night wasn't by any means terrible, but loving the first album so much, it was always going to be difficult for the new tracks to cut through the nostalgia attached to the old and be held in the same special place in my heart.
The aggressive crowd also went some way towards putting a bit of a dampener on what should have been a great night and so despite this disappointing debut, I’m still looking forward to the album release - perhaps listening to the album in its' entirety will change my mind about the direction in which Flume is headed. In any case, this was not quite the night I had been hoping for.
Video by Daven Gomes