Hermitude and Flume brought a lot of positive energy to a sold-out Orpheum last Wednesday.
On Wednesday night, two of Australia's best electronic music producers came together at the Orpheum theater. Hermitude served as support for Flume's Skin album tour this fall. Hermitude played a roller coaster of an opening set. As their performance gained momentum, it set the positive tone that lasted for the rest of the night. They mixed the instrumental track "Ukiyo" from their latest album Dark Night, Sweet Light with pop single "Work" by Rihanna, which gave "Work" a smoother beat. On the other hand, the drops in their new singles "Vibration" and "Gimme" pumped a ton of energy into the Orpheum.
It was obvious that Luke Dubs and El Gusto were simply having fun on stage, and Dubs even said in appreciation for the Big Easy that his time here has been musically inspiring. They took a few segments out of the set to freestyle in tandem, which really won the crowd over and added personality to the set. Dubs and Gusto stepped out from behind the turntables carrying their keyboard and synth, respectively, and proceeded to play them while engaging the crowd.
Flume's performance at Lollapalooza this summer was very different from his show Wednesday night. At a festival, many artists feel an obligation to play their most popular tracks and fan favorites. However, on an album tour, they typically have more latitude. Flume's set Wednesday took us on a musical journey. Flume opened with the instrumental track "Helix" and did an R&B transition into "On Top," the electro hip-hop original from his first album. The whole theater was hyped up from the start of his set. Next, he played "Smoke & Retribution," featuring Los Angeles rapper Vince Staples.
Following his predominantly male opening, Flume transitioned into a set that featured vocals by women including AlunaGeorge, Kucka, Lorde, Kai, MNDR, Tove Lo, and more. The juxtaposition of a smooth vocal element with his intense synth and bass made his drops that much more climactic.
Flume played a few of his slower tracks on the album, starting with "Innocence," a very raw, simple track with vocals from AlunaGeorge. This was followed by "Like Water," featuring MNDR, which was not a particularly dignified track on Skin. Next, Flume chose the song he says he is proudest of: the most dynamic track on the new album, "Numb & Getting Colder." Kucka's high-pitched voice, mixed with flute and synth, make for an experimental and twisted track.
"Heater" is an unreleased track that is expected to appear on his upcoming Skin Companion EP, available this November. The songs featured on this new EP were also briefly previewed on the "Skin LP Preview" track that came out before the album was released. "Heater" is a lot like the track "3" which also features vocals from Flume himself in a falsetto register. He transitioned this into "Insane," one of his most popular tracks from his first album. This transition was also used during his Lollapalooza set this year.
One of Flume's most notable tracks is his remix of "Tennis Court" by Lorde, but he played it along with "Never Be You" from Skin, which has been heard more that 41 million times on Soundcloud, Crowd involvement crescendoed while Flume played "Take A Chance" with the angelic vocal stylings of Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon, which hasn't got the same level of attention despite having one of the best drops on the album. It's inclusion in his set was a pleasant surprise.
His remix of "Core" by RL Grime came as a surprise as well, but while Its trap beat matched the vibe he’d created, trap itself sounded wrong next to the other songs he’d played. "Core" is a fun song that a lot of people know though, so it pumped more energy into the room. Next, Flume played his remix of Hermitude's "Hyperparadise," which was one of his earliest and most pivotal remixes. As his set came to a close, he played the sensual "Say It" (featuring Tove Lo), then after the creative experiment "Free," he left the stage. This instrumental track has a weak melody and repetitive ringing that is actually awkward for the ears and was a strange way to conclude the set.
With the crowd roaring for an encore, Flume came back on stage to perform his most popular remix to date: "You & Me" by Disclosure. His massive stage LCD screen played the music video for the collaboration, which depicts sexual tension between two lovers that is relieved when the beat drops and they embrace. The icing on the cake was the final song, "Tiny Cities." Flume framed his set with "Helix" and "Tiny Cities," just as he framed Skin. He allowed his audience to experience Skin and himself as an artist by letting it hear the choices he made in his set and for his album.