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It’s a pretty surreal experience to turn up to a sold out arena show knowing the headliner is just a regular twenty-something from Sydney’s Northern Beaches. A space usually reserved for the world’s biggest names was taken over last night by Australia’s greatest musical export of the past ten years, Flume.
Joined by SOPHIE and Vince Staples playing support, Harley Streten took his place behind his now iconic prism and was met with defeating screams of adoration. Helix begins and it’s triumphant build says what the audience feels, the homecoming has arrived. What followed was an incomprehensibly spectacular performance.
One of the many reasons music is so powerful would undoubtedly be the way that while technically it’s only tapping into one sense (our hearing), if it resonates then music will it override your sight, touch and taste also. A song is a one dimensional platform so generally we fill in the blanks with our imaginations. On this tour Streten has completely taken over the entire experience and in essence, created a physical manifestation of his sonic body of work.
The show incorporated larger than life visuals of undulating metallics, hybrid flora, fauna and other emotionally provocative images. Lasers created geometric patterns and strobing lights were used to excess. At one point, thousands were bathed in gold glitter that rained down from above and sent fractured light the furthest corners of the arena. Overwhelmingly large and spectacular-the overall experience was as close as any one will get to stepping inside Streten’s brain. The music fed into the production and showmanship, there was never going to be one without the other.
An interesting thing to note however was Streten’s actual setup for playing, behind all of the fanfare there were a few midi controllers, a drum pad and access to an Ableton session. The simplicity of it all was quite remarkable, those few pieces of unassuming equipment was all Streten needed to
actually play his music. Take away the larger than life stage show and what’s left is a young producer with an arsenal of incredible songs.
Following on from the notion, guest vocalists were kept to a minimum for the set, appearances were made by Vince Staples and Kucká (on their respective tracks). Kucká delivered her melodies with absolute precision. Her sweet yet powerful voice slicing effortlessly through the heady and
dense production proved she belongs with the heavyweights and is definitely a force to be reckoned with in the Australian music scene. There wasn’t really any need to overdo the features however and Streten kept the balance of live vs. pre-recorded just right.
It’s difficult to highlight crowd favourites when your entire discography is equally popular but Streten made sure to cleverly space out his material. Weaving effortlessly between his self titled debut and Skin, it would be fair to say that Say It, Insane, Holdin’ On and Wallfuck were the real stars within a flawless setlist.
Much like a dream, recalling the details and trying to define what made it so special is always a little harder the morning after. While we spent the night wrapped up in Flume’s world of hi-definition technicolor, the splendor of it all has already become difficult to articulate. The joy felt by those present however wont be so quick to fade.