Dear Miami, don’t fret. That subtle shock of sexual energy you experienced last night was not the ancient gods of libido trying to claw their way out of the Earth's crust. It was only the scientific reaction of Flume’s music meeting the live-wire hormones of about 1,000 nubile screaming superfans.
It was jarring, to be sure. These kids love them some Australian future bass, but you need to collect yourself and prepare for another. The musical wonder from Down Under will return for another sold-out performance tonight at downtown’s Grand Central, and once again, he will leave fans devastated by the power of his hook-laden masterpieces.
He will wow the front row with his prism, he will send people of all genders into a rump-shaking frenzy, but this time around, everyone will be over 18. This means there will be significantly less Snapchat happening, because last night at Grand Central, it was an all-ages affair.
The evening was early, an hour earlier than Wednesday’s performance will be. At 9 p.m, an hour after doors officially opened, Miami’s Telescope Thieves warmed the crowd with his personal brand of future-bass heartbreak melodies. He worked through strange nocturnal sounds as the crowd of young faces piled in on top of one another.
When we say young, we mean young. The average age must have been something like 18. It was full-on summer-break mode in that bitch, on some Thank God Mom dropped us off down the block. That could have been embarrassing-type shit. Yet, all those youngsters in attendance do give hope that the growing hordes of the Snapchat army at least have inspired tastes. They were thrusting their skinny wrists toward the ceiling, grokking what a humble dude from Hialeah was laying down. It was a trippy evening all around. By 9:35 p.m., the first fingers-to-the-face blow-up session was spotted to the front right in the depressing poi dungeon that was serving as a merch area. Maybe 20 minutes later, a girl we know widened her eyes in the dark and exclaimed, “I’m tripping. I feel like everyone is staring at me. What the fuck is this noise?”
But the crowd loved Mr. Thieves' handiwork. Girls hopped on shoulders and GoPros flashed red until the last moment, when the local hero grabbed the mic and thanked them all profusely.
There was a quick intermission until Flume’s appearance at 10:15, just enough time to re-up at the bar and wonder how it came to be that children decided frayed jean booty shorts were the only acceptable concert wear. Your Coachella throwaway is the graduating class of ‘15’s mainstay. We passed the time by playing a game of “gay or bro” by the bar, trying to decide whether muscly hugs were bromantic or something more. Flume is music that makes you want to love the one you’re with.
At 10:16 p.m., the lights dimmed and the stage came to life. There was a cacophony of squeals and laser noises. Phone screens mirrored the front of the room from hundreds of slightly variant angles. “What’s up, Miami?” shouted the Australian accent. The response was even louder when he fell into the day-dreamy beat of “Sleepless.”
The artist became a veritable machine-gun spray of hits. Sing-alongs came one after another: his hit with Future Classics fellow Chet Faker “Drop the Game,” the braggy rap jewel “On Top,” the hip-shaking lover anthem “Holdin’ On.” He kicked up the level with What So Not’s “Touched,” sending backs into perpetual bend and asses shaking in all directions.
From the back of the crowd, he looked like a smoky mirage. Purple lights diffused in the air, and while mutating shapes crawled along the lighted backdrop, we could see nothing of the so-called “prism” his live shows have become famous for. Creeping up to the front to catch a better look, we saw less of the stellar visuals and more of the adoring fans capturing every sweaty moment on film for social media to share in eternity. We thought there was a high moment when he dropped the “Tennis Courts” remix, a sign of the Aussie connection, but this would happen time and time again in his hour-and-a-half set. We forgot just how many hits Flume has birthed since 2012. He’s become so omnipresent in the EDM scene, his sound is already nostalgic.
For all the feelings his music inspires, his live performance was only kind of meh. He had an array of gadgets and equipment, but we only saw him beat a drumstick a few times, maybe touch some nobs here and there. He did a lot of power-posing and hand-clapping. He even came out to sing with the crowd, but he wasn’t laying down live vocals or otherwise impressing with overwhelming talent. We’ve seen better Flume sets in our day, but even still, any day you get to go insane to “Insane” is a mark in the “dope” column.
As the girl next to us morphed into an endless spring of scanning selfies, Flume hit his most climactic moments. The crowd caught whiplash to his edit of Rustie’s “Slasherr.” A deluge of quirky trap beats pummeled our senses – “Tell Me,” “Hyper Paradise,” the whole gamut – until the final teary-eyed photo op that was his remix of Disclosure’s “U + Me.”
When he left the stage, people stayed behind, chanting “Seven Nation Army” as if we were in the middle of some grassy festival field. He granted the loyal onlookers with one more song. We can’t remember what it was. Suffice to say it made girls and boys both want to fall in love with a stranger or, at the very least, hashtag the shit out of it for later. Those things are essentially the same in 2015, right? If you missed out on Flume's first show, take comfort in the fact that the impressions of the night are nestled forever in the servers of Instagram, and tonight, another room full of hormone-fueled fans will pack Grand Central’s walls for the chance to see Australia’s home-run hitter. Next time he’s in town, they’re going to need a bigger venue. Shit. They already do.