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Concert review: Flume proves his rise is no coincidence in Columbus

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Australian EDM artist, Flume, performed at EXPRESS LIVE! in Columbus. Credit: Courtesy of PromoWest Productions

Australian EDM artist, Flume, performed at EXPRESS LIVE! in Columbus. Credit: Courtesy of PromoWest Productions

When Flume tickets went on sale in early May, they were an easy steal: about $30. Days before the Australian electronic DJ performed in Columbus at EXPRESS LIVE! outdoors, tickets were topping $80 on some resale sites.

The pit was swamped with sweaty bodies, the lawn behind packed all the way to the back. In fact, I had to pause while writing this, far after sweat had caked on my arms, to know what it felt like to feel clean again.

It was an intense, passionate and raucous affair; a fitting end to a summer, which he provided a perfect soundtrack to with his diverse sopomore album.

A few weeks after the Flume show was announced, the producer released his second studio album, “Skin,” which topped the charts in Australia and peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 in mid-June. The eerie, low and wavering synth of the LP’s intro track “Helix” welcomed a crowd ready to rage, as the lights were cut briefly around 9:20 p.m. before a curtain was raised revealing the DJ.

Two rows of one-sided, light-up cubes with alternating colors hovered overhead Flume’s station for the night. The bar for the visual aspect of the show was set extremely high for the remainder of the show. The stage was riddled with tantalizing lights and images including a melting, morphed Alien vs. Predator character and the double helix flower from the album cover of “Skin.”

The visuals, and most importantly, the music, didn’t fall short of the excessive hype leading up to the event. The 90-minute set contained a variety of past hits, favorites from “Skin” and even some nods to fellow producers.

Before getting into cuts from May’s release, Flume took it back with bangers “Holdin On” and “Sleepless” from his self-titled project. This ended up being a perfect warm up for thrasher “Lose It,” featuring Chicago flamespitter Vic Mensa, a couple tracks later. “Smoke & Retribution,” a song he visited in the second act of his set, features another hot rapper, Vince Staples, and similarly sparked the crowd.

The climax of the show, however, came after a brief intermission. As the chimes to one of Flume’s most popular tracks trickled out of the speakers, fans embraced for the drop to the airwave-dominating “Never Be Like You,” featuring the airiness of Canadian singer Kai. “Take a Chance” and “Say It” evoked similar vibes from the crowd, proving that Flume’s inventive synth techniques are the new wave.

Flume exited the stage around 10:50 p.m., but not before a two-song encore that was dramatically introduced amidst blue LED lights. “Drop The Game,” his funky collaboration with Chet Faker, preceded the concert’s closer “Tiny Cities.” Spacey vocals provided by Beck and vivacious, high-pitched keys echoed into the Columbus night sky. It was the perfect vibe to send fans out on.

Today there are certainly some people regretting not snatching their Flume tickets at the onset of summer. “Skin” is proof that he is a producer on the rise, so bookmarking the Aussie DJ for his next Columbus stop seems like a preemptive, yet smart, idea.

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