Here's how you maneuver a Flume concert.
Don't make eye contact with the girl in the bathroom dressed as a banana; she looks like she's feeling chatty.
Avoid the pile of throw-up that has somehow already decorated the venue's carpeted steps before the Australian DJ even begins his set.
When some kind stranger secretly alerts you to a bar upstairs that has a considerably shorter line, remember to thank them before running off like you've heard a starter pistol. (I forgot to do this.)
Wear deodorant in hopes it will retroactively encourage others to do so. (It won't—that's impossible—and it sucks.)
And don't stand directly behind the guy who's hoisted his girl upon his shoulders (though this POV will make for a great photo later).
Or, this is how I maneuvered Flume's concert at the Shrine Hall Expo on Wednesday night (August 10), the first of four consecutive sold-out shows at the venue. But on to the goods.
Flume won't disappoint in setting the scene. If you've heard his new album Skin, you know that its opener ("Helix") does the same; its instrumental is atmospheric, it swirls around you, it engulfs you. And the live show is no different. Set to an ambient electro soundscape, there's smoky fog that obscures Flume and floats above the crowd. Soon, just his shadow is cast within a spotlight's projection, like those classic images of wolves howling at the moon. And lasered lights strobe and stripe the ceiling before they soften to resemble sunrays. But if ever fortunate enough to see Flume live, these are three songs in his set you shouldn't miss.
"Lose It," featuring Vic Mensa
No, this pick isn't because Vic Mensa pops out from behind a curtain for a surprise guest appearance. He doesn't need to. When his chorus drops over that skittered trap beat that sounds like a pulse in double-time, the crowd carries the lyrics, uplifted in the most aggressive of ways, and delivers its repeated chant as if leading a march: "Blow one down, pass it around/ ayyyy/ Fuck with me now, we running wild/ ayyyy/ Nobody game, we own the town/ ayyyy/ Never come down, I'll never come down."
Lorde's "Tennis Court"
The ping-pongy beat that kicks off Flume's remix to this Lorde track could be seen as corny considering the track's title, but the synths he uses to back her verses are as alluringly ominous as her aura has always been, so it's a made match. He truncates her lyrics to create a glitchy, staccato effect—think: losing service during a phone call—and replaces them with heavy handclaps. But he keeps the originals' down-shifted and punctuated "Yeah!" for familiarity.
"Never Be Like You," featuring Kai
Kai doesn't make a cameo either during the show, but again she doesn't need to because there's something powerful about when the crowd sings this together like a love proclamation. Its twinkly intro and long-held synths are all well and good, but it's the drop that makes all the difference. And that's obvious in all the synchronized body rocking going on in the crowd. There's a reason it was his first song to hit No. 1 on his home country's ARIA charts; live, the song alternates between shiny and stuttering, romantic and raucous.
Watch Flume spin "Tennis Court," "Never Be Like You" and "Say It."