It’s been a hot minute since I have had to dust off the old rave gear and while it is not something I willingly do especially on a school night, the good folk at Hi Fi Way wanted to check out Australia’s poster boy of Electronica Flume for his big return to Adelaide with the Palaces tour and I obliged because he is kind of a big deal. What I didn’t realise, is that you haven’t really listened to Flume until you have seen Flume live. This surprised me as someone who only ever sees bands perform, you know, with instruments. I assumed anything electronic is essentially going to be the artist standing on a stage bopping in front of turn tables while people young enough to have been a teenage pregnancy for me chew on their own faces and wave glowsticks around. To be fair there was plenty of that, but what I wasn’t expecting was a visual and auditory mind bend akin to attending an art installation at MONA where I was completely mesmerised for the entire two and a half hours and utterly blown away by how the crowd’s energy amplified the whole experience.
The most pleasant of surprises for me however was Vera Blue supporting, who’s unique mix of alt-pop electronic folk boasts one of the most powerful voices in the business. Imagine if you will, that Phil Collins and Florence and the Machine had a beautiful baby, and that beautiful baby was a Disney Princess with flowing red hair that sang unashamedly pop girl power anthems, and you have Celia Pavey aka ex The Voice contestant (who surprisingly did not win) aka Vera Blue.
Having lent her incredible vocals to many big Australian artists such as Illy, PNAU and yours truly Flume, it seemed fitting that she was in the support slot, but her performance was essentially a big arena show on its own. Not missing a note, she danced aerobically onstage in an extravagant pink chiffon gown not unlike Glinda the Good Witch and bright red hi-top sneakers. The stage lit up with hues of pink and blue and the back screen exhibited obscure floral arrangements like a bouquet of hyper coloured roses with blinking eyeballs. Hitting her miniature keys for boppy tracks Lady Powers and Regular Touch, Vera Blue was accompanied by a drummer and keyboardist, while she grabbed her guitar for hit song Pretty Girls. Far from the moody slow vibe of many of her popular songs constantly played on commercial radio, she stuck to the high energy dance tracks matching the energy of the crowd while still giving us the feels with gutsy emotive power ballads Hold and Mend. It was a spine-tingling exhilarating act that coloured me new fan and yes, I definitely bought a T-shirt about it.
By the time Grammy winning superstar Flume hit the stage, the arena was completely packed and everyone was at peak level excitement. Standing between two mixing boards placed between a theatrically lit giant archway that slowly expanded throughout the show, Flume started his set with the sound of a revving engine while donning a Race Suit with the visual of a spinning wheel on the screen behind. The energy intensified dramatically before Flume’s engine took off and everyone was jet pinned with almighty torque on an immersive ride of sound, visuals and light. Then the great big dance off erupted during breakthrough hit Holdn’ On that transitioned flawlessly into Drop the Game.
Intertwined with the big hits and even bigger theatrics of light and colour was Flume’s playful experimental sound which made his performance so much more than a mid-week rave. May-A graced the stage for Hyperreal and Voices running around like a five-foot nothing energiser bunny and Vera Blue graced the audience on two tracks firstly for Never be like you and Rushing Back. The most impressive guest vocalists for the evening though, was the adoring audience who’s rendition of Say It was goosebump inducing. This is the kind of audience energy that everyone has missed throughout the pandemic and what makes these arena shows well worth the time regardless of your preferred genre. Hypnotic, entertaining and awe inspiring, this show delivered the goods on so many levels whether you were there to dance the night away or simply sit back in full view of everything and ascend to a meditative state. There is no escaping the grip of Flume’s spectacular and often ethereal performance that has been doing the rounds to insanely large crowds all over the world. After six years, it’s a real treat to have him back on home soil with such a massive new show.
Live Review By Bec Scheucher